A man traverses the stone floors and wooden drapes of the inner
palace with another man by his side. Both are clad in their best
suits of steel armor, polished until their lustre is incomparable
to a newly forged set, their blades hang in their sheaths,
undoubtedly sharpened as the light glints off of their deadly
edges. Wooden shields rimmed with steel are slung across their
backs, each bearing the insignia of their respective family's
crest. Their heads are helmeted, and their expressions contrast.
The man on the left is determined and grim in his visage,
seemingly unphased by any inner conflict or outside distraction.
He walks with a highly controlled, militant gait. The man on the
right is relaxed, with a smile cracking his face that he appears
to be struggling to supress. He walks with a skip in his step and
a gait that would betray a jolly demeanor.
They pass the halls and reach what appears to be their
destination, a curtained archway. They pass through this arch,
removing their helmets. The man on the left immediately and
almost robotically descends on his right knee, while the man on
the right hesisitantly remains standing. Sitting on a royal
purple throne is a man wearing a red robe and gold crown, both
embroidered with a colourful variety of jewels. He rises from his
seat and addresses the two men.
He walks up to the man kneeling and speaks in a ruling albeit
"Welcome to my court, Opnus. It's good to see you again my
He then turns to address the man who is still standing.
"And you, Anastas. Why do you refuse to kneel before me?"
"I kneel before those who earn my respect, my liege. Something
I'm afraid you haven't accomplished."
The King responded with a condescending laugh. "It matters not to
me whether I am respected or not, because either way, today you
will die, Anastas." Opnus rose to his feet.
"While the crimes you have committed against my family and the
Kingdom are unattonable, I have granted you the honorable
parameters of death that you requested, out of the grace of my
heart." He smiled. "I wouldn't want to stoop to your level.
Standing next to you is the greatest warrior of our army, Opnus.
His technique is unmatched, and he has slain innumerable fools in
his conquests. A peasant like you has no hope of defeating him.
Consider this your execution." A smile cracked Opnus's face.
Anastas's reply was short. "You underestimate me, old man."
"That we shall see. Opnus, slaughter this fool and avenge the
death of my son!"
Both men put their helmets back on, and drew their swords from
their sheaths. Opnus's sword was perfectly cleaned and
embroidered with jewels and intricate ingravings, obviously the
sign of an esteemed warrior and noble. Anastas's sword was rusted
and worn from use, although he clearly had made an effort to
sharpen it beforehand.
"Let it be known that your death is-" Opnus was cut off short as
Anastas let loose a bloodcurling cry and leapt at Opnus with a
vicious overhead swing, which Opnus managed to block as he barely
pulled out his shield in time.
The King made a swirling gesture with his hand raised in the air,
and then retreated back to his throne to watch the duel. Anastas
was wreckless; he neglected to use his shield at all, instead
opting to wield his sword in two hands, which he swung fiercely
and wildly. Opnus blocked and parried every attack with almost
inhuman precision, and he seemed almost impenetrable.
"Now do you understand what you're up against, fool? You have no
hope of defeating me." But Anastas completely disregarded the
obvious taunt from Opnus; there was a fire burning in his eyes
and he was determined to be victorious. He let loose another
scream and tore off his helmet; sweat was already pouring from
his brow and his swung his sword in a vicious storm that seemed
almost endless. While Opnus managed to deflect every blow, he had
absolutely no opportunity for a counter attack, and the assault
was begininng to wear on his shield arm, as every shot caused him
to stagger further and further backward.
"This Kingdom deserves a leader who is passionate!" A wound up
swing sent Opnus staggering backwards. "A King who leads through
example and not through fear!" Another swing. "A King who is as
fearless as the warriors he commands!" And yet another.
The King began to become enraged. "Opnus, stop toying with this
peasant! Kill him now!" Opnus swung his shield toward Anastas and
clipped him across the chest, which caused him to fall backwards
with a hard thud. Opnus lunged his sword towards Anastas with a
calculated blow to the head; but Anastas rolled out of the way,
which he then followed with a kick to Opnus's wrist, causing him
to lose his weapon.
Before Opnus had time to gather himself, Anastas lunged at his
knees in an absolute rage and took him to the ground. He wrenched
off his helmet before Opnus threw Anastas off of him with a well
placed kick to the chest. Now both warriors were standing
helmless in the King's court.
"Is this what I should come to expect from the King's greatest
warrior? Pathetic." Opnus yet again seemed to be unphased.
"Opnus, what are you waiting for! He cannot be allowed to live!"
Opnus gathered himself and swung horizontally toward Anastas's
head, which he ducked underneath and followed with a sweeping
kick that again knocked Opnus to his feet. He was slow to get up.
"Why can't I kill you!!" He shouted. "You're a peasant, you've
never even had formal training! It should be as brushing aside a
"You just don't get it, do you Opnus." Anastas said calmly to
him. "How does it feel to be the King's son? You've never had to
scrap a day in your life for anything you have. It's all been
provided for you, hasn't it?"
Opnus and the King shared a concerned look. "Yes, I know."
Anastas laughed. "All it took was a little snooping around, and
some blackmail. Besides, I can see the resemblance in your
"Now," Anastas continued, "How many more members of your family
am I going to have to kill before you finally develop a warrior's
Opnus snapped at this remark. "You bastard, I'll wipe your
miserable face from the Earth!!" He leaped at him with a furious
scream that came from his heart, but it was for naught, because
Anastas took advantage of his blind rage, and drove his sword
straight through Opnus's windpipe.
"Fitting," Anastas said, "that it should be in the moment of his
death that he discovers the true passion of battle." He pulled
out his sword and Opnus dropped heavily to the floor. He turned
his attention to the King, who was backing out of the room in a
"Impossible," the King said, scrambling backward. "How could you
kill my son?! He was the most skilled warrior in the entire
Anastas approached him slowly. "Don't you get it, old man? Flames
cannot be effective if there is no fuel to give them light. Your
son came here today looking to prove himself to you; I came here
today looking to prove myself to no one but me. And there is
nothing as dangerous as true inspiration."
And with that, Anastas bellowed, and the King's head was taken
from his shoulders.