It's just a snippet. It's for a horrifically romantic fluff story in one of my folders, and I thought that if I made it a little less sickeningly lovey dovey, it might just work out someday. So the heroine needs to start acting the part. Now I don't think it's going to help with her love life, but hm, yeah I think that's okay.
His knuckles were white as bleached bone around the hilt of his sword. It was only the steady grip of the other men on his arms that reminded him he could not interfere. A cold sweat was beading on his forehead as all of his insides rearranged themselves. His heart in his throat, his stomach turning over and over before dropping to somewhere that felt like the level of his knees, and his lungs constricting with a rush of air every time he heard her cry out.
The crash of metal upon metal was familiar, nothing new, especially in these days. But the sounds she made…now grunts and shouts of exertion could be understood, these came from her opponent as well. But when she lunged, or beat back his blade with terrifying effectiveness the feral snarls she directed toward Turi, were unsettling. They broke from each other, chests heaving, and circled in the sand. Her shoulders were down, eyes dark as she glared at the man. Kate flicked her long blade and the leather of her glove creaked, taught around her knuckles.
Kate. The kind woman who had watched over him day and night when he was ill, who tutored two young children with patience and care. The sweet woman who had soft hands and smiling eyes, who had kissed him in the moonlight and confessed her love with tears shining on her cheek!
God, there was no trace of that sweet woman now. Her soft lips were a stony firm line in her pale face. A pale face marked with no expression but hatred. Her eyes were of ice and flame and murder. Diego stared in horrid fascination. This was not Kate. This was not his Kate.
Somewhere a woman started sobbing, but he could not look away. He watched, and jumped when they connected again. Sparks snapped from the steel to dissolve harmlessly and a furious scream bubbled from Kate’s throat; her opponent faltered in his step and the sand was graced with first blood. A tiny sheen of red marked victory on Katarina’s sword and Turi retreated two steps, clutching his chest. His shirt was neatly sliced and now absorbing his blood before more of it dribbled onto the sand. Kate leveled her sword and snarled a vicious word:
“Never.” Turi snarled back, equally as vicious; murderous. “Never!” Sand flew as he launched himself across the circle at her, not taking her off guard, but he stumbled to the left, corrected, and quickly lunged, back knee sliding in the sand. She blocked as well as she could in such close proximity, his blade sliding on hers away from her heart, up, and for a moment the glare of light on steel was all she could see before a myriad of pain exploded in her face. She quickly turned, thrusting his blade away and kicking out blindly with one foot.
It was only by luck that she caught him square in the jaw with her heel. Fortunately it sent him sprawling with a shout of pain as she had kicked his jaw closed onto his tongue. She thought for a second about giving him time to recover, but instead shook her head to clear it momentarily of pain, and then brought her boot up and planted it firmly on his sword hand, threatening to break knuckles with her determination.
“Yeild!” She shouted.
“Never!” Turi shouted back with a spray of blood from his cut mouth.
Diego was nearly sick when he heard the quick snaps and pops of small bones being crushed under the heel of Kate’s boot. Turi screamed. Kate ground her boot heel down harder. Diego could swear he saw her smile, just a twitch at the corner of her mouth, as Turi screamed again.
“Yeild!” She shouted above the screams.
“Not…not to you…bloody bitch.” Turi squirmed to his knees and she let him have his broken hand back. He picked up his sword with his left hand, holding it with practiced care, holding his crushed hand to his bleeding chest. She stood easy, watching him warily, but it was already over. She allowed him to attack again, humoring him in his desperation. Turi was good with his left hand in the practice ring, but he was already tired and in pain. She deflected his attack, slicing his left wrist with ease. He faltered and fell to a knee, blood making craters in the sand.
“Yeild.” A low growl.
“You will fail.” Turi spat it like a snake.
“Yeild and I might be merciful.”
With great effort Turi gripped his sword and tried to raise it. “Fuck you.”
Diego could feel his stomach flip again and his gorge rise when she drove her blade into Turi’s heart without hesitation. The man hardly made a sound before crumpling to the ground.
The chill silence was only broken by the sobbing of a woman somewhere in the observers. Katarina turned to Diego and the men who now, instead of holding him back, propped him up. Kate looked just on the edge of pleased. Diego was having a hard time controlling the urge to vomit.
She held up the bloodied sword in salute and bowed very low. She straightened, pulled a handkerchief from her vest pocket and began to wipe down the blade of her sword. She addressed the rest of the assembly without looking up.
“I trust there will be no more treasonous attempts.” She glanced up then, still cleaning the sword in a business like manner. Her tone was the kind she used when addressing the children. “Because if there are any more plots to supplant my lord and true king, I will dispense with the formality of killing you in public. I will slaughter you and your children while you sleep.” Her cold green eyes regarded the audience with disdain, and then she seemed to just notice the deep slash in her cheek. She bowed again and walked out of the dueling ring.
Xavier’s lips twitched in an ironic smile. “Ah now that, my dear grandson, is loyalty. I apologize, Diego, I have misjudged the lady Katarina.” He paused in thought and then nodded. “You may have her.”