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The Spider and the Fly

By AJCulpepper All Rights Reserved ©

Drama / Fantasy

Josse fights the Fenrir'sson

Josse held his free hand out to the monster and its maw dropped open wider. At the last second, just as it was about to crash upon him, he dropped his fist to take the grip of his sword in both hands and slashed upward in a wide arc. The azure stain along its length flashed in darkness as it sliced through the miasma wolf cutting it in two. The beast dispersed into nothingness with a howl of rage and through the wispy strands of its remains, the bastard sword met the spiked chain.

One end snapped around the blade while the other shot around from the side. Turning his head to keep his face from being torn off, Josse ducked the backswing, twisting his blade away to slam into his opponent. The Fenrir'sson staggered backward and the length of chain struck inward again forcing him to hunker down.

Each refusing the let his weapon be torn from his grasp, the two of them tangled together, steel screaming against steel. Fighting in a frenzy with the nearly reckless savagery for which all ulfhedinn were known, the Fenrir'sson lashed out, quick and strong.

Josse easily matched the warrior himself, his powerful, gauntleted strikes always landing in the most vulnerable areas, catching him in the face or throat. But his eyes weren't fast enough to keep track of the spiked chain. The free end would come first from one way, then switch direction to come back the other like a whip. More than once they betrayed him and it was only his instincts that saved his head from being impaled on a barbed end. Still, spikes carved into his armor, piercing it and his flesh enough times that he could feel the warmth of his blood soaking his clothes.

Instinct was a part of every living thing. It was the survival component that enabled life to continue. His mind racing, his heart pounding, Josse kept his calm and forced himself to shut out his sense of sight. Focusing on his other senses, he relied entirely on his instincts and the world slowed down. He could smell the oil and blood on the chain, taste it on the air. The crack of the ice and the clash of the weapons grew distant. The howl of the Fenris Wolf within the Fenrir'sson rose in muted tones without while within he felt himself falling into a nearly uncontrollable, trance-like fury as the protective spirit of the Bear rose through him.

Frothing with rage, he roared defiance as he lashed out with the raw primal might of the Bear. His cry was echoed by another voice deep inside – the ursine war cry of his Ancestors. The sons and daughters of the Bear whose blood flowed in his veins. Without conscious thought, his savage ferocity multiplied a hundred times over in answer.

Then he heard the clank of the spiked rings coming from his left and the whistle of the barbed end coming the other way.

Driving his sword into the ground, Josse dropped to one knee and ducked his head even as the Fenrir'sson charged. The end of the chain skimmed over his shoulder and slammed into the warrior's belly. The impact threw him to the ground and Josse lunged to his feet. Leaving his bastard sword behind, he rushed the warrior, drawing his longsword as he came.

With his chain caught fast about the sword driven into the earth, the Fenrir'sson let go and rolled just enough to pull his long-handled axe free. It met the the adamantine blade in a shower of sparks and caught off guard, Josse had no choice but to quickstep in retreat.

Adamant was a diamond-like material that possessed the hardness of the gem as well as its clear, iridescent hue but was much lighter. Made of steel, the axe blade shouldn't have been able to stop it. If nothing else, the longsword should have carved deep into the cutting edge.

The Fenrir'sson rolled to his feet. Eying Josse warily, he took hold of the bloody chain and pulled it out of his body, the barbed end pulling muscle, organ and flesh with it. He coughed once staining his lips red and sending a shower of bloody spittle over his short beard. Then he hefted his axe in both hands and charged with a howl of rage.

Josse met him halfway. Blocking his descending axe, he turned it away and twisting with the warrior, brought his blade up across his back. The adamantine blade glanced off the chains hidden in the thick black fur of the pelt he wore, making it ricochet with a bone-jarring force that tore it from his grasp. Immersed in his battle-rage, Josse caught it on reflex in one hand in a reversed grip and brought it back in, seeking to drive it between the warrior's shoulder blades.

It was as if he sought to thrust it into stone.
Kicking him in the ribs to gain some distance, he took a step back and for a moment the two circled each other. Bear and Fenris Wolf glared within their eyes, order and chaos challenging. From the Fenrir'sson, Josse's gaze slid to his bastard sword still driven into the ground with the spiked chain tangled along its length. The glittering stain of nightwolf blood along its blade enveloped it in a softly glowing nimbus in the darkness.

His eyes shifted back to the Fenrir'sson and the warrior slowly shook his head.

Josse had known and fought many Sons of Fenrir, as so many chose to become Raiders. If they weren't members of his ættin serving his father, they were from enemy ættin seeking to take what Gwenneg Bardaga Villtur claimed. They were not einherjar, the 'once-fighters', warriors slain in battle and taken by the Valkyrja to Valhalla. They were not immortal. They could be harmed and they could be killed. Nor were they svört tunga, practitioners of galdr magick, or any magick really.

There was another hand in this battle. One that was tipping the scales in favor of the Fenrir'sson whether the warrior himself knew it or not. A magickal hand at work in the chains keeping him safe from the harm of his opponent's mundane blades. Josse wasn't only fighting the Fenrir'sson, he was fighting the arcanist behind him. For a moment, he wondered if it was his own father who sent the warrior after him. Then he decided it didn't matter.

The holes from the spiked chain poured blood freely, making his clothes sticky and wet under his armor. His muscles twinged painfully. His whole body ached. But the pain seemed muted and was easily ignored in the throes of his rage. Gripping his longsword tightly in both hands, Josse charged with a roar and felt the Bear roar with him, its challenge as much to the Fenrir'sson as to the Fenris Wolf within him.

The Fenrir'sson came on like a madman, howling his fury as he brought his axe up. Again, the two blades clashed but this time Josse was ready for the rebound. Accepting the impact back into his arms, he used the recoil to bring the adamantine blade back in, aiming for his opponent's side as he ducked the still descending axe carried by its own momentum.

Passing by in a crouch, he slid to a stop beside his bastard sword and shifting his longsword to one hand, tore it from the earth with the other. Following through with his strike, the Fenrir'sson did not pause or slow. Turning, he charge with axe raised and Josse stabbed forward.

The stain of nightwolf blood burst with blinding brilliance as the blade shattered the chains and sank deep into the warrior's side. He froze with a gasp of surprise as the chains woven throughout his wolfskin cloak and wrapped about his wrists and throat broke away, crumbling into darkness that vanished altogether. His head thrown back, the axe slipped from his hands to land on the ground with a thud behind him.

Driving the sword further in, Josse pushed himself to his feet and the warrior collapsed to his knees. Blood poured down his side and spouted from his mouth with every ragged gasp as the ice around them exploded and the darkness melted away to reveal the sliver of moon overhead. His wolfish yellow eyes melting to a deep green, he lifted his face to meet the Defender's gaze. Start writing here ...

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