I opened my eyes.
That’s the thing about getting knocked out, you don’t dream. It feels like almost no time passes at all. Like you close your eyes one second and open them the next, and suddenly you’re somewhere new. For those of you unacquainted, it’s rather disorienting.
In my brief moment of grogginess I realized the source of being awoken so quickly was some smelling salts wafted under my nose, which is about as pleasant as it sounds. I was on my knees with my hands tied around my back. I immediately recognized that it was now daytime, and I was surrounded by people. I didn’t get to take in my surroundings much further before a sharp kick to my back found me stumbling face first into the dirt.
“Going all out on the welcome-wagon, I see.” I drawled out from the muck.
“Lift him up,” A stern voice, female, ordered. “I need to see his face.”
Just as the voice commanded, I felt a couple sets of rough hands grab me by each shoulder and haul me out of the mud and dirt. Those fuckers still kept me kneeling. I could already feel the hospitality. I finally got a good look at my surroundings. What I had mistaken for people earlier turned out to be about a village’s worth of Amazons. They all crowded around me in a large semicircle like street-urchins at a street brawl; densely packed together, but far enough away from me to give me some room.
In front of me was the only one sitting besides me. Her chair rested on a somewhat raised stone dais, giving her a bit of an elevated position over the crowd. I knew right away she was the leader. Her build was as muscular as any of the other Amazons I could see, but her exposed skin was riddled with scars. Amazons don’t get scars easily. Her face held that same generic, eerie beauty that all monsters have, but it was marked by a few lines of age and fatigue. I thought she must have been elderly then, because monsters hardly ever show their age. She wore a blank, stone-like expression. The expression of someone that has learned to control their emotions.
Standing directly to her right was a much younger-looking Amazon. In contrast to the seated Amazon’s expression, hers was colorfully expressive. She had a scowl full of unhidden disgust and hatred as she locked eyes with me. It was different seeing her in proper light, but I was pretty sure she was the one that grabbed me back at the camp. She didn’t seem to happy to see me. Well, I was in for a treat.
“Grandmother, this is him,” she said, turning slightly to the seated Amazon, “He’s the human who murdered mother!”
“Speak when spoken to!” The seated Amazon barked, causing a few in the crowd to flinch and hush their whispers, “…and call me ‘Chief’ in public.”
“You,” the ‘Chief’ said, turning to me. “State your name.”
I spit into the dirt in front of me, “Go fuck yourself.”
The Chief lazily waved a hand in an offhand motion and one of the Amazons holding me by the shoulder kicked me in the stomach, causing me to wheeze.
“Name.” The Chief demanded once again.
“Go. Fuck. Yourself. That’s spelled ‘Gee-oh’-” I didn’t even get to the third letter before the Chief sighed and waved her hand again, and I earned myself two more kicks to the stomach.
“I’m already pretty sure your name is ‘Kelt’ and that you’re a mercenary,” the Chief said, resting her chin on her fist, “We found out as much by searching through the things in your satchel.”
“Then why-” I began to stutter out.
The Chief sighed, “It’s how we do things. It is only proper to know the identity of the accused. I am making certain we have the right name.”
She paused a few seconds before continuing, “I will ask again. What is your name?”
I paused, mostly to catch my breath, but also to swallow my pride. Now, it might be said that telling the leader of a village of angry Amazons to go fuck herself is a bad idea, but god damn does it feel satisfying. The kicks to the stomach, much less so.
“Kelt,” I panted as my gaze fell down in shame, “Mercenary.”
“Very good,” The Chief said as she smiled slightly.
“In that case, Kelt the Mercenary, you have been accused of murdering Ethnea, a former member of of my tribe, known by your people as ‘Ethnea the Unbroken.’ What say you?”
I laughed a little bit.
“Is that it?” I said incredulously, “You’re just going to take my word for it?”
“No, there is a witness,” She gestured to the Amazon standing to her right, “There will be a trial, but only if you contest what she says. Otherwise your punishment will be given shortly.”
“A witness?” I asked, turning my gaze to look at the big ol’ angry bitch.
“Yes, allow me to introduce her,” The Chief said with mock-grandeur as she spread her arm out wide while gesturing toward the other Amazon, “I present Kicva, daughter of Ethnea, daughter of Ceridwen. I suppose I should also mention that Ceridwen is my name.”
I don’t really remember what kind of expression I made, but I’m betting it was some really dopey looking “I-fucked-up” expression.
“I see it has dawned on you, little human,” Ceridwen the Chief said with a humorless chuckle, “You stand accused of killing the witness’ mother, and my own daughter. Again, I must ask you, what say you in these matters?”
“Of course I fucking killed her, I had her head dangling from my backpack!”
“Are you admitting to murder?”
“Murder?” I spluttered in disbelief, “She had a fucking bounty on her head, she was a criminal! Blame the local constable, not me.”
“The problem with that, little human,” Ceridwen stated unfazed, “Is that we do not recognize human law. The fact that your leaders allow it makes no difference to us.”
I snickered a little, “You sure talk a lot for a savage. Why not just kill me now and save your breath?”
She looked insulted for a moment, then regained her composure, “That is not our way.”
“Despite my personal feelings, I will consider you innocent until the trial proves otherwise. Your punishment will be dealt with if necessary, depending on the outcome of the trial. I say these things to you, human, because you are an outsider and are ignorant of them. It would be shameful to try a suspect who has no idea what his crime is.”
“Oh yeah, how noble,” I snarled, “Let’s talk about the honorable ways of your people, shall we old hag? Ethnea was an exile, no longer under your tribe’s protection. And I can guess what she was exiled for. Or perhaps I need to remind you what I found in that pot?”
Ceridwen’s face actually darkened when I said this, telling me I had hit a soft spot. I saw her fists clench as she repressed her angry, though some of that anger I could tell was directed inwards.
“You know much of our ways, for a human,” She relented, “It is true that Ethnea was an exile. That was when I first knew…when I first noticed her mind had started to go. We…I thought removing her from the village was for the best.”
She looked up, gaining determination in her stern expression as she spoke, “I had no idea how far gone she was. When the news came, truly I was shocked. I am to blame for her actions, I realize. My punishment was to order the execution of my own daughter. That’s what Kicva, my granddaughter, was there to do.”
“If you were just going to kill her then why-“
“IT WAS NOT YOUR PLACE!” She roared with a ferocious smile, eliciting a startled gasp from many in the crowd.
“Not your place,” She continued more calmly, “Ethnea had done terrible things, but she was still my daughter, and an accomplished warrior. She deserved a death at the hands of her tribeswomen and to be buried with her ancestors. She did NOT deserve to be killed by a human upstart and then to have her corpse mutilated.”
It’s a scary thing seeing someone gain control of their emotions so quickly. I’ve certainly had my moments of weakness and made major mistakes because of it, probably something I should work on. But this woman was shouting one moment, then calm the next. That kind of discipline is only learned through hard lessons.
Ceridwen continued once more: “Can I take your prolonged silence to mean you admit your guilt?”
“No,” I said, thinking fast, “There was no murder. Ethnea attacked me in my sleep. I acted in self-defense.”
This time it was Kicva who finally spoke up again,”You snuck up on her camp, planning to collect the bounty in the middle of the night!”
“Silence!” Ceridwen roared, glaring at Kicva, “Do not speak out of turn.”
She turned to me, “Well, then in that case we have two differing accounts of what happened. In that case, you shall have a trial to determine if you are guilty.”
“A trial?” I scoffed.
“Yes, a trial by combat. Your opponent will be the primary witness and your accuser, Kicva. Remove your clothing.”
“Wha-? Remove my clothing?” I asked in disbelief, even as I saw Kicva begin to quickly remove her loincloth and brassiere.
“Of course,” Ceridwen stated with a smirk, “All Amazonian trials are done in the bare flesh.”
Ceridwen made another motion to the Amazons on either side of me and they hoisted me up still I was standing on my feet. My legs and feet burned with sensation as sitting on them had made them go a little numb. As I stood up, one of them untied my hands. I rubbed my wrists sorely as I contemplated what was about to happen. I noticed Kicva had already shed all of her clothing, what little she was originally wearing, and was standing proudly, if a little smug, without any sort of shame.
“Are we really going to have the trial right now? Hardly fair, considering I’ve been knocked out and bound for who knows how long and Kicva over there looks well-rested,” I huffed, stalling for time.
The Chief actually paused a moment in thought. “Nessa,” she said while motioning to an Amazon in the crowd, “fetch a recovery elixir.”
“Grandmother, is that really wise-” Kicva spoke up, obviously trying to contain her disapproval in front of the Chief.
“Are you not a woman born from my own daughter?” Ceridwen snapped, “Your opponent is a human, it shouldn’t matter what state he is in. Your cowardice unbecomes you. I will hear no more.”
Kicva bowed her head slightly, but it was obvious she wasn’t satisfied. Her face was red with embarrassment at the taunting her grandmother had given her. Ceridwen, on the other hand, turned away from her instantly, already pushing the incident aside. In a few moments the Amazon returned with some sort of liquid. I was wary about ingesting the liquid but the two Amazons strong-arming me “helped” me gulp it down. To my relief I felt my soreness fade away and energy seemed to fill me up. I felt like I had just woke up from a fucking amazing night’s rest. Even so, sleeping in the bed of a king wouldn’t make you feel confident about fighting an Amazon.
“I notice you still have not removed your clothing, do you require assistance?” Ceridwen asked without sincerity. I understood it to be a command stated as a question.
The two Amazons still holding me upright made to strip me of my clothes, but I shook them off immediately. I wasn’t having none of that. I’ll die before I let a monster man-handle me. I’m uncomfortable showing my naked body, but even so I’d rather take my clothes off of my own accord and salvage some dignity.
“Keep your filthy paws away from me, cunts,” I spit out, “I can undress myself.”
And so they released me.
I knew all the eyes would be one me, so I took my clothes off quickly, but not in such a rush that they would be able to sense my discomfort. I had to remove my clothes in such a manner to pretend to be nonchalant, and deny them the satisfaction. It’s not so much that they wanted to see me naked, but they wanted to humiliate me. I was probably in for much worse if I lost this “trial” but I wanted to get back at them any way I could while I was still able. So I took off my shirt first. I heard a few gasps.
That meant they saw the scars.
I have never claimed to a be a beautiful specimen. I was once an ugly man, and now I am an ugly boy. My torso bulges grotesquely with serrated muscle piled thickly under the skin. On an adult’s body, the muscle would give me the appearance of a strongman. On my current body, I look like a lanky dwarf. But that is not my only flaw. My skin is marred by numerous scars, some of them battle-inflicted and some of them gathered from various miscellaneous sources. The absolute worst of it has to be the large, mottled patch of burnt flesh on my back. As far as scars go, it looks less like a dashing trophy from battle and more like a dried mudslide of human skin.
“What a fucking freak.”
Kicva looked a little confused about what her Amazon sisters were whispering about, but a friend standing near her pointed at me while whispering. Kicva smiled and broke into a laugh. Our eyes met. Fuck that bitch.
I took off my pants and boots in the same manner, the reaction this time was much more subdued. The scar along my back continued somewhat to my lower body, but I guess the crowd was used to it. They weren’t shocked, at least.
“Of course he’s got a tiny boy-cock.”
“I guess he really isn’t a man yet.”
“Everything about him looks disappointing.”
I expected the remarks about my cock. Even if my cock were huge, they would still have laughed at it. When it comes to humiliating a man, cock size is a pretty sensitive topic. It only makes sense to attack that first. I don’t really care though. Of course my cock looked small, don’t they all look small unerect? Whatever, it’s not like having a large cock would have made my situation better. In fact, it probably would have made it worse.
At this point I had finished taking off my clothes, and was standing there. But Ceridwen was glaring down from her throne expectantly. There was still one article of clothing I hadn’t removed. I didn’t want to remove it. I hoped she wouldn’t ask me to remove it.
“Remove your mask, too.” The Chief ordered.
With a trembling hand, I reached up and gently pulled my half-mask up, slipping it over my head. After throwing the cloth onto the pile with the rest of my clothes, I made sure to keep my head level and not look at the ground. There weren’t any whispers then. I knew why. They were staring at the wound on my face. The wound that never closes.
On the right side of my face, there is a large chunk of flesh missing where my cheek would be. It is positioned in such a way that my teeth on the right side are exposed to the open air, giving my face a half skeleton-esque smile to it. Luckily, the gap of flesh does not extent to my lips, so I am still able to open and close my mouth normally to speak and eat. But the wound itself is strange. The edges of the wound are not rounded and pink like any other healing wound. The edges are crisp and final, like a fresh cut from a butcher’s knife. For whatever reason, the wound never heals, and it never bleeds. It always hurts though. Gives me a major case of dry-mouth too.
As you can imagine, I’ve never gotten a good reaction to it. You can get people to force pity for you if they see the burns, but a hole in your cheek only scares and disgusts people. It makes eating quite a messy chore, as well. That’s one reason I choose to eat alone, out of consideration for others. I’m just a fucking saint, ain’t I? Covering the hole up with a mask is much easier; I’d rather people thought I was trying to be mysterious than have them put off by my appearance. In towns, though, I am forced to wear a loose fitting scarf wrapped around my lower face, makes me look like less of a bandit, I suppose.
The silence in the crowd was deafening. They could laugh at my burns but not my face? Fucking cunts. That’s why I usually hide my face: nobody wants to look at a man with half a face. My eyes met with Ceridwen, sitting on her throne, who wore a troubled expression on her face but said nothing.
“Wow,” Kicva said, breaking the silence, “What a dog.”
A few giggles and murmurs followed her remark. I momentarily forgot my shame and found my anger.
“I look better than your mother does, I’ll bet.” Silence once again followed my remark.
Kicva scowled and snarled, “You ugly shit. I’ll tear off the other cheek just for that.”
I gave her a lopsided grin using the untouched half of my face. I was purposefully pumping myself up with anger to drown out the fear. You want to dilute the fear down a bit, but not get rid of it completely. There’s always a little fear underneath the anger. Fear keeps you alert and sharp. Fear makes you smart. Too much fear makes you a pussy. I ain’t no pussy.
A pair of Amazons with identical ceremonial bronze outfits and long braided blonde hair strode purposefully into the center of the clearing, between Kicva and I. Together those two carried a table littered with weapons of every shape and mold. There was everything from a tiny hunting knife to a large battleaxe an Amazon warrior would need two hands to wield.
“Pick one,” came Ceridwen’s explanation.
“I get one, as well?” I said, as I saw Kicva hurry towards the table of weapons without hesitation.
“Of course,” Ceridwen said with a hint of surprise, “Isn’t that only fair? Unfortunately we can’t let you use your own weapon, but I think you’ll find the ones we have here are of much better quality than that hunk of metal you were carrying.”
She was true, that piece of shit sword I had been using was only a tool of necessity. I work best with heavy two handed swords, but it’s hard for me to find a weapon with the right weight to it. Something that’s too light throws me off-balance. The sword I was using was the result of asking a local blacksmith to “make this shit twice as heavy you old fart.” What I got was a hastily made crude “sword” with no edge to it. But with the appearance of a child, I wasn’t in any position to complain.
However, looking at the table of Amazonian weaponry in front of me, I forgot all about my inadequate weaponry woes. I walked over and picked up a huge Amazon sword, which looked more like a knife a giant would use as a pocket knife. It was just as long as I was tall, but most importantly it had only one side with an edge, meaning I could rest the dull edge on shoulder and thus opened up the possibility of using it one handed. I loved it.
“Can you even lift that thing?”
“Don’t hurt yourself little boy.”
“Hah! The ugly mutt found a bone bigger than he is.”
Despite the laughs and jeers all around me as I made my choice obvious, I lifted the great sword with some effort and rested it on across my shoulders with an appreciative grunt. I spied Ceridwen raise her eyebrows a bit at this but she said nothing. Kicva just huffed a little.
“You know that’s a training sword we give to children, right?” She asked with a snort, as she choose the brutal looking battleaxe from the end.
“It doesn’t matter what it is, I like it,” I said simply.
Our choices made, the table and the weapons were cleaned up and whisked away. Then the area was a flurry of energy and motion as the crowd dispersed even more to make the haphazard semi-circle into a full circle defining the boundaries of an arena. I found myself on one side of the circle, and of course Kicva was at the other, directly across from me. The crowd around us swelled with jeers and shouts, all of them either cheering her on or taunts directed at me. But Kicva wasn’t paying attention to her, she was looking only at me.
Now, if you asked me if I was nervous, then my answer would have been ‘fuck yeah!’. No matter who you are, no human looks forward to fighting an Amazon one-on-one. You might think that I would be more comfortable, seeing as how I already killed one Amazon, which is what got me into that mess. Well, you’d be wrong. When I killed Ethnea, I never planned to fight her fairly. The plan was always going to be slitting her throat in her sleep. I fucked up and let her spot me, which is why we tussled at all. Truthfully, I’m lucky Ethnea turned out to be a nutter starving in the mountains; I may not have had a chance otherwise.
So, while I was standing there in that village, surrounded by the shouts and jeers of Amazons out for my blood, being stared down by a pissed off bitch with a battleaxe, you better believe I was scared. My chances of victory were much lower than with her mother. Kicva was noticeably younger, and more spry. She was also well of mind, if a bit pissed off at the moment. Objectively speaking, she was probably better than me in every way. The fact that she could probably crack a boulder between her thighs probably didn’t hurt her chances either. But if strength was the only thing that mattered in combat, we’d settle wars with arm wrestling. And that’s not easy for a guy with a penchant for huge fucking swords to admit.
No, there was one disadvantage Kicva had. She had never learned the ‘Lesson of the Weak’.
What’s the ‘Lesson of the Weak’? It’s just a term I made up, but it’s a simple rule I came up with to explain how the world works. Have you ever wondered how it came to be that humans have such a large presence in this world? Especially since we have to compete against numerous races of monsters? I mean, humans aren’t really all that strong, or fast, or smart, or hell, we’re not even the best at fucking and reproducing. For all of those qualities, there are monsters and animals out there that outdo us. So why do humans thrive? Because we’re all cowards.
Think about it: what did humans do back in the age of the loincloth and stick when we found something we couldn’t kill? We gathered a group of our buddies with even bigger sticks and killed the animal that way. Every time we faced an opponent stronger than us, we were able to adapt and do whatever to survive. So we rallied together, we increased our technology, all to survive. Strategy and tactics are tools used by the weak to conquer the strong.
Now, consider the Amazon, a race that developed with almost no natural predators. What do you think happens when you grow up knowing you’re the baddest bitch on two legs on either side of the river? You get cocky and you get stupid. I knew that the young Amazon facing off in front of me had never known fear. She had never faced an opponent bigger than her and fought with her back against the wall.
Her strength made her weak.
My weakness made me strong.
“Begin!” A voice rang out, its idenity indecipherable as it was quickly forgotten in the onslaught of cacophony that followed.
Kicva grinned and rushed toward me as the crowd roared and swelled. There are many things in this world I’d prefer to never have seen. A bucket full of curdled holstaurus’ milk is one of those things. An angry eight fool tall Amazon with a huge battleaxe rushing toward me with her shoulders down is another. But even as I tensed with fear and anticipation, I saw Kicva begin to wind her arms back to swing her ax in a comically telegraphed motion. I could see where she was going to hit. I gripped the handle of my borrowed sword tighter.
Kicva reared the battleaxe over her head as she approached, obviously going in for a one-hit kill with a helm-splitter. But I was ready. As she swung the axe down with both hands, I positioned the flat side of the sword over my head to block the blow. My knees buckled with the force of the hit, which sent shocks of pain radiating down my body. That strength was nothing to mess with. But the quality of the great sword proved to be true, and it held.
As Kicva lifted her axe to ready for another overhead blow, I stepped to the side to avoid it and swung my sword in a wide horizontal arc, hoping to catch her in the side. I wasn’t fast enough. Kicva reacted quickly enough to transfer the motion of her swing to deflect my blow, jerking both of my arms out to the side and nearly causing me to drop my sword. I felt a disturbing *POP* and a flash of pain as my shoulder dislocated.
“Ooh, am I being too rough with you, little boy?”
I only grinned humorlessly in response and yanked my shoulder back into place. I grunted lowly from the pain. Relocating bones is always more painful than when they get dislocated. I wasn’t used to the new sword, and hadn’t been prepared for the added weight of it compared to my old one. When wielding a big fucking sword, if your blow doesn’t connect right, you’re fucked. I wouldn’t be so careless in the future, I told myself.
“You like that, watching little boys suffer?” I quipped, “Just like dear old mom, ain’tcha?”
She responded by swiping her axe at me, but I was already prepared and moved back a bit.
“Swing an’ a miss, champ. Care to try again?”
Kicva growled and threw out a punch, much quicker that I was ready for. It ended up grazing me in the chin and sending me stumbling into the dirt on my back. I was actually on the edge of the crowd, and I quickly realized what a mistake getting that close was. The Amazons in the crowd kicked and stomped on anything they could reach, and some further in the crowd that could reach decided to spit. No serious damage was done, probably not to dishonor my opponent, and it wasn’t long before the crowd collectively picked me up from the dirt and shoved me back into the ring, worse for the wear.
We continued like that for a few minutes, with Kicva trying to hit me with incredibly strong but easy to predict swings of her axe. I realized quickly that it was foolish to try to block any of the blows, since I was barely able to withstand one of them. Instead, I chose to dodge them and attempted to counter-attack. However, my swings were either not fast enough or weak enough to be swatted away easily. So we were at a stalemate, where neither of us could land a good hit on the other. But I knew if Kicva hit me just once, that would probably be the end of it.
After dodging another heavy overhead from Kicva, I decided to move in closer to attack while her axe was buried in the dirt. My plan was to hit her with a momentous upward strike while her hands were busy prying the axe from its earthen prison. As I wound up for the strike, however, she reacted quickly, abandoning her axe in the dirt and freeing up her bare hands.
With one hand, she grasped my left forearm, rendering it immobile. Once she had me held in place, she used her other first and punched me in my exposed stomach. I vomited. I don’t care how tough you think you are, if you get hit hard enough in the stomach, it’s gonna hurt like a bitch. Kicva increased her grip on my arm until I felt that sickening *SNAP* as the bones in my forearm broke. If there was anything left in my stomach, I would have puked again. Instead, I just screamed.
Kicva smiled and pushed me over onto my back. It didn’t take much force, my legs were already weak from exhaustion. Usually, this is where most fights end; once one person ends up on the ground. Once an opponent takes you to the ground, that can do what they want to you. In most cases, this means going for the killing blow or torturing you a bit. But whatever they do, it’s pretty much game over.
Unless they start monologuing.
“I guess that’s it, huh?” Kicva said, a smug smile on her face.
She turned to the crowd and drank in their cheers and whistles as she raised her arms in a victorious pose. She made sure to keep one foot on my chest, to stop me from getting up. But I think it was more showmanship that an actual precaution. Then she looked down as me in satisfaction, and a pit dropped out from my stomach. Once you lose in a game like this, the winner does whatever they want to the loser. She raised her leg. I don’t know what I was worrying for, I expected her to do this if she beat me. It still didn’t stop me from trying to scramble away at the last second.
Kicva stomped her leg down onto my exposed testicles, before I could scurry away.
Now, I’m pretty good with pain. Pain is like fear, you always need a little bit to keep you sharp. However a very large dose is almost always a bad thing. I’ve felt some pretty intense pain. It’s not the worst pain I’ve ever felt, but I can tell you having my nuts stomped on by an Amazon warrior is probably in my top ten most painful moments. The pain made me start dry-heaving in-between sobs, tears running down my face.
“Look at how pitiful you are,” Kicva beamed as she whispered close to my ear, “You’re worthless and ugly. You’re just the remains of someone else’s chew toy.”
And just like that, I forgot about my pain.
Anger. I felt the sweet torrent of anger fill me once again. Anger isn’t like fear or pain; with anger, more is better. It dilutes the fear and pain you have left and fills those gaps of uncertainty in your mind with a clear goal. I have my pride too, ya know. Maybe not a warrior’s pride, but the pride of a human being. I’m not the toy of any faggot-ass monster. And the one thing I hate more than anything is feeling powerless. So what do you do when it seems like the Gods themselves conspire against you?
You punch the Gods right in their faggot faces and tell them to eat shit.
“Mother would be so proud,” I hissed.
Kicva snarled and aimed another stomp at my testicles, but I was ready. I rolled to the side just as her foot came down. Even though it hurt, I crawled to my feet and leaped for my sword, which lay discarded in the dirt behind a currently confused Kicva. Pain radiated throughout my lower body, stemming from my groin, but I focused on my anger and pushed it aside.
My maneuver successful, I grasped the handle of the giant blade in my right arm, the only hand I could get any real strength out of currently.
“I’m not done yet, you mud monkey,” I huffed, trying my hardest to refrain from giving into the pain and allowing my legs to shake.
“And just what do you think you’re gonna do? You struggled to swing that with both arms.”
She had a point. I rarely am ever seen wielding a sword I would be able to use well with one hand. However, the operative word in the sentence is ‘well’. It’s technically possible to lift the sword and swing it in some capacity, just don’t expect any real power behind the blow. But at that moment, I didn’t need power. In fact, I didn’t even need the strike to hit, because I knew it wouldn’t anyway. Sometimes, you just gotta dig deep.I yanked the sword by the handle with my right shoulder, whipping it over my head into a crude downward arc. I ignored the protests of the muscles in my shoulder and snarled.
Kicva’s eyes widened at my sudden motion, but just as I predicted, she moved backwards from the crude blow. I wasn’t aiming for her anyway. My sword hit the dirt just before her at such an angle that it sent a spray of dust into the air. A large dust cloud hit Kicva in the face, as I expected. Immediately Kicva closed her eyes tight and began to rub them fiercely to get the dust out.
Like mother like daughter, I suppose.
I wasn’t going to let this opportunity waste. I reared my leg back almost comically and kicked out hard, as if I were kicking a winning goal in a game of ball, right into Kicva’s pelvic bone. Right in the fucking cunt. At that, the crowd went deathly silent. The only noise was her prolonged scream of agony, which I remember being a bit louder and longer in duration than my own. Unable to withstand it, she fell to her knees. Again, I wasn’t about to waste an opportunity. I punched her in the goddamn face. Amazons have a face like a rock. I shook my hand and winced.
Kicva was now the one on her back in the dirt, and now it was truly over. I might be an asshole, but I’m not stupid. I wasn’t going to start monologing now. I straddled her by the shoulders, one knee pinning each arm, and started going to town. Just really railing on her. I smashed her in the face with my right and sometimes my left. This is how most brawls end: one person in the dirt while the other sits on him and just beats him with his fists. They don’t ever mention how much punching barehanded hurts. It does.
Every time I punched I felt stabs of pain in my hands and forearms, but I kept fucking going. I was pissed. I don’t like losing. I don’t like getting hit in the balls. I don’t like monsters. But most of all, I don’t like being called a toy. So I beat Kicva’s cunt face until it was swollen and red. At this point there were tears streaming down her face and she tried to turn her face away from me.
I half expected someone from the crowd to pull us apart once I got this far. No one came. I paused for a moment, looking into the crowd of Amazons that circled us. Many of them refused to meet my gaze. A few of them were whispering to each other, but no one shouted at me to stop, no one tried to jump into the ring and forcefully stop me. I realized this was their way; they recognized Kicva had lost and that she was completely at my mercy.
“Mommy…Mommy…I’m sorry….Don’t hit anymore…I want Mom back… ” I heard her sniffle out from underneath me.
Numbly, I felt my anger dissipate. As my anger left me, the pain came back in its place, pulsing and throbbing along my arms and hands, collecting in the broken forearm I had mistreated. I dismounted Kicva slowly, and struggled to stand. Immediately after her arms were free, she put her hands up over her face and curled up into a fetal position, probably afraid I was standing up to kick her or something.
I just rose and looked out at the crowd, wondering what to do next.
“Kelt the mercenary is found not guilty of murder, ” Ceridwen shouted with enthusiasm.
There was a moment of pregnant silence that followed. One pair of hands began clapping. It was Ceridwen. She clapped slowly and deliberately until the Amazons around her got the hint and joined. Soon I was surrounded by cheers and applause on all sides, most of it insincere.
I took a breath and looked down at my body, taking inventory of the damage I’d sustained. I mentally prepared myself at the same time; now that the fight was over, the adrenaline would begin to fade along with the shock, and I would be hit with a lot of backlash for my actions.
My left forearm was angry and swollen. I was almost positive the break had been complicated by my sudden movement a few seconds ago, and the bones would need to be reset. My stomach was sore and my back ached, but that would fade with time. My right shoulder screamed and pulsed. It would take longer to heal than my bruised knuckles, but there was nothing to do besides wait for the torn muscles to repair.
With my right hand I gingerly felt around my groin, checking my testicles to make sure all the parts were still there. I didn’t count anything less, or more, than I normally have, but everything was tender. The entire package was inflamed and I could only hope any damage was not permanent. I was pretty sure I’d be pissing blood later, though.
“Well fought!” Ceridwen exclaimed, jovially clapping me on the back, “If I didn’t see the cock between your legs, I’d say you were a woman!”
I fucking hate monsters.