A Swordswoman's Tale

Level One Vagrant

One: Distractions

By Aaerdan

IT HAS been happening all too often of late, enough to be a cause for concern. Flashes of memory, faces of people whose names cannot be recalled, of a world with an uninspiring name.

Or some Voice that no one else seems to be able to hear.

Irritating, condescending ... bossy even.

Worrying are these when they occur at the best of times, downright troubling and hazardous to one's health when one is trying to make it through a horde of foul-tempered bats with a taste for human flesh.

"Okay, maybe not human flesh," Lena Aaerdan concedes aloud. "But definitely all-too-eager for a chomp or three."

Above the din of blade on bone and claw on wooden shield, no one not even the Vagrant fighting for his life a few footsteps away hears her.

Talking to yourself? the Voice laughs. First sign of dementia.

"Shut-" Lena manages before she is cut off by a blow barely foiled by her cuirass and sending her spinning into the air. Some of these Aibatts can be very aggressive.

And this one was particularly tough ... what did the veterans call them? Captain Aibatts?

Don't land on your face.

With a twist mid-air she lands on her feet, raising her shield and bracing herself for the follow-up attack.

Wait! The ground's not-

The ground under her left boot gives way. Lena only manages to regain balance by jamming her over-sized shield into the earth. Just in time too, for the Aibatt flapped in for the kill.

She times it perfectly. Thinking her off-balance, it dives in aiming for her neck. Lena backs up and thrusts forward.

The Aibatt meets the business end of her sword and crumples. It lets off one last cry before she performs the coup de grace.

"Until your next life," she intones as the soil claims the slain.

Lena turns to survey the battlefield, and notes that the mud that nearly led to her demise is partly crimson in hue.


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