06: Duel of the Blooded
Shaitar stepped outside the Wave Rider as many of the patrons had lined sides of the street. The two opponents faced each other. Shaitar kept watching on Richard while Rolland watched the two bodyguards for any signs of betrayal.
Richard scaled lips opened wide to reveal his sharp-pointed poisonous fangs, his forked tongue feeling the teeth in the process. “I have not had such a wonderful time with a pleb. None are willing to go against their betters. The word fool has four letters, yes? I think I shall remove a limb for each letter: your hands and your feet. I will leave you in freakish agony. No healer of the Spire will touch you. No regrowing your limbs.”
Shaitar understood his game, “So what are the stakes of this duel. I lose you take my crew member, and I lose my hands and feet? What do you wager?”
Richard laughed, “Wager. Ha. What do you want?”
Shaitar thought for a moment, “You pay for my ship’s repairs out of your family’s wealth. An apology for my crew and me. And your word as a Shithen, there will be no retribution. Oh, and the stakes are the same; I will be removing your hands and feet. I hope you don’t die off.”
Richard paused then continued to laugh, “Alrighty then. You are nothing more than a pleb who has forgotten his place.”
In the crowd, one of the city’s constables was watching, and he knew he could do very little to stop the slaughter that was about to happen. “Constable. I need you and your witness magic.”
The constable stepped forward, and he wore the uniform of the cities constables, a bright yellow half-moon tabored. He looked towards Richard for confirmation.
Richard chuckled, “It’s alright, Constable. Use your gift of witness magic and recorded for all to witness.”
The constable nodded, he quickly cast his spell. The witness’s magic allowed him to share his experiences with the Hall of Mil-ike in the cities Legal Protective Archive and protect the contract. This action created a powerful binding agreement that had to be followed by the letter of the law.
Shaitar turned back to Richard, “Do you Richard the grieved, agree to the terms of this wager. As the grieving, I let you take my crew member, Kate, until you are done with her. Your punishment to me is you plan on cutting my hands and feet off. I Shaitar, Captain of the Chimera, the offender counter wager with You will lose your hands and feet, you will repair my ship with your family’s money, and there will be no retribution against me or my crew for your actions tonight. Also, I will leave one more option. We both walk away and forget this ever happened; we can be better men.” Shaitar left him a way out; would he take it?
Richard continued his mocking chuckle. “Agree to the terms, yes. Walk away, no pleb, I will enjoy watching you bleed to death. The audacity and your hubris are so obvious for all to see. Only nobles can be Blooded, a god’s blood runs in my veins, I rule with the grace of the gods. My word is the law. I honor the law. Today you will understand your place. You will fall today, and your crew will need a new captain. Are you ready, pleb?”
It’s only a flesh wound.
Shaitar slipped his left foot back to better ready himself for combat. He was raising his sword, nodding.
Richard waved his blade at each of Shaitars body parts. “Which one do you not need the most? Hmm? You need your sword, of course, but you don’t need your extra hand!”
Richard pulsed his grace into his body, and his eyes flashed a bright green. He moved with inhuman speed. Richard was not ready for the sudden flash of bright blue light out of Shaitar’s eyes. With his training as a hardened veteran, he quickly slipped past Richard’s blow, tripping him. His sword came down blazing empowered by grace, leaving trails of a bright light cutting through Richards’s shield and his arm the shield was attached to. Richard screamed as the pain ran through his body, quickly dropping his sword and clutched his bleeding stump. He pulsed his grace to heal the wound and stop the fountain of blood from leaving his body.
Shaitar swung around again, and the blazing sword cut cleanly through Richard’s left foot’s flesh and bone like he was cleaving through paper. Twisting the sword around and coming down just above the right foot’s ankle, the blade sliced through the limb just as quickly. Richard placed his remaining bloody hand up to block Shaitar’s final swing, “Mercy! I beg of you!”
Shaitar paused only for a moment, “How many have asked you the same? Do onto others as you would have done to you. There’s balance in those words.” In a flash, Richards’s hand disappeared from his arm and flung up somewhere else.
Richard’s screaming voice carried across the silently stunned crowd. Richard pulsed his grace to allow the bleeding to stop and so his flesh could regrow over his bloody stumps. With the pain stopping, his nerves still burned as if on fire.
His two bodyguards are completely quiet; they have never seen Richard or any noble ever beaten down like by a pleb.
Richard, shouting at the top of his lungs and, flailing his bloody stumps around, “YOU! I WILL KILL YOU FOR THIS.”
Shaitar placed his sword down onto his chest above his heart. “You will honor the contract. The terms have been set into law.”
Richard blinked, “Your just a pleb. Plebs don’t have grace!” His anger begins to rise, slobber forming in his mouth, “WHAT HOUSE ARE YOU FROM? I DEMAND TO KNOW!”
Shaitar looked down at him. “Fool, my name is my house.” This statement is fundamentally correct, and they had given up their last names as a tradition when a ship of the line mutinies. So nobody was to use their previous last name ever again.
Richard growled, ’There is no house Shaitar in the Spire!”
Shaitar grinned, “Only nobles can be Blooded, a gods blood runs in my veins, I rule with the grace of the gods. My honor is my shield, and my resolve is my sword.” Pulling the sword from the disabled man’s chest. “I will expect your accountants to be at Port 94 in the morning to settle your debt and honor the contract. Looking forward to your apology. Dick”
The stunned crowd started murmuring, and the slow murmuring grew into a louder cheer. Some of the crowd was pointing and laughing at the fallen noble. The crowd always loves when the rich and powerful get knocked down a peg. A man yelled out, “Three cheers for Captain Shaitar of the Chimera!”
Shaitar turned away from the whining mess of a serpentine man, returning to the Wave Rider. Rolland padded his back, “Good show.”
Shaitar shook his head, “That fool was no warrior; that was not a challenge. He just used his grace to make himself faster, and he did not take the fight seriously. The good news is that we are now on even footing with the Blooded.”
Landis tapped his cane on the floor, “Truly impressive, and the technique looked flawless.”
Kate had finally stopped hiccupping, “Overkill.”
Maverick shook his head, “There is no,... no such thing as overkill.”
Kate continued to snicker, “No, apparently I did that once. A horrible snake called a railthon, a nasty black snake that swallows cats whole.” Tears formed at the edges of her eyes, her pain in her voice came forward uninhibited by the spirits running through her body, “That snake ate Mr. Fizziles. I loved that cat. The snake swallowed him whole, crushed the life out of him. I vowed revenge!” Shoving her fist in the air! “I spent the next year, day and night. Relentlessly hunting down each railthon snake, I could find in the valley and killed it.” Her fist came down on the table, hitting a bowl of the mystery green soup and splashing the contents. The green broth covered her and the empty seat across the table. “And splat! Dead snake! Uncle Jeri said I had a disposition of going overboard on something that slighted me? Does that make me a bad person?” Losing her balance, Kate slipped off the chair and onto the floor. “The ground is so sticky.” a moment later, speaking in a muffled voice, “Yuck and tastes like old beer.”
Shaitar gave a concerned look to Maverick, “Well, at least she is a happy drunk.”
Opal tried to stand, “Shaitar, you are my hero. I think you need to be rewarded. She opened her mouth, trying to form her lips to make a kiss.” He just placed his hand between her face and his. Her face deformed into his hand, “Sorry, you are drunk off your ass.” He pushed her back into her chair.
Landis was sitting down himself. “Do you think we are safe from retribution from the Shithen’s?”
Shaitar looked for his mug of water, “Yes, the witness magic will only last for one week. So we have to be out of here by then. They will come back after me. I revealed myself so that I will be a target.”
“I rarely deal with Dunkir’s nobels system. Too many variables to deal with. Nobels are not mathematical, and they are emotional.” Landis cast a quick cantrip to clean the table, and the liquids turn to a cloud of fine green dust. A small breeze then took the scattered dusty remains outside the open window.
Shaitar stood up one last time, “I am going back to the Chimera. I have an old friend to meet with tonight. Take care and be safe.”
As Shaitar walked out, the patrons of the Wave Rider cheered him out. As he turned back to take one look at his crew, he noticed that the mighty dragon Torac was not hanging around Kate. “Where did he go?”
Richard lay on the ground, and he had an itch forming on his nose. He could not scratch it. The pain of the lost limbs had stopped. He would heal the wounds, but he will be helpless for weeks as he regrew new flesh and bone. He looked around for his two bodyguards. “Worthless one and two, Don’t stand there, help me up.” The walking weapon arsenal moved to aid his master. Reaching over, he picked his master off the ground and placed him onto his back. “Now go get my hands and feet. I can heal faster if I just reattach them to myself. That bastard is going to pay for this.” Turning to the street, “I lost my hand over there, under my shield.”
Quickly the bodyguard approached the perfectly halved shield. He went to pick it up, and the shield moved. Quickly he grabbed the shield to reveal a small cat-sized blue and silver dragon underneath. The dragon faced Richard with his mouth full of Richards’s hand. The dragon quickly swallowed the remaining morsel, and he let out a loud, electrically charged burp. Giving a warning roar, the tiny dragon quickly flapped away. Richard had remembered seeing the little dragon wrapped around the black-haired infernal’s neck. His stomach felt queasy; the horror of that small creature eating his flesh made him even sicker. “Where’s my foot!” The panic came, “Oh gods, oh gods.” Frantically searching for his missing appendages, “They are gone!”
Richard searched up into the night sky; on the Wave Rider’s upper level, he locates the small blue dragon chewing on what looked like the charred remains of his foot.
The dragon then waited for Richard to get a good look before he swallowed the rest whole. He let out another satisfying electric filled burp.
Richard let out a scream of frustration, “AHHHHRRKK! Take me home. Now!”