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The Fireside Tales - Chapter Sixty-Three
Chapter Sixty-Three: Fight

"Couples fight all of the time. It is a part of being in a relationship. Just never grab the blade and it'll work out."

There was barely any time for reaction.

Behind her, Shayliss heard inhuman growls and massive thuds. The ogres must have immediately started attacking the group by the door with their weapons. Since those noises were not followed up by screams of pain or sickening squishes, she had to assume that the others managed to avoid sudden death.

Yet, she did not have the attention to spare to find out.

Valtyra, her eyes glazed over, her face a mask of blankness, moved.

Metal screeched and sparked as both rapiers were thrown to the side. The motion stunned Shayliss for a split second as her strength sent her aiming toward the ground. She recovered fast enough to sidestep from a double downward arc. Both rapiers then curved diagonally toward Shayliss and it was so swift that she barely had the time to parry them away. The assault of metal continued with a horizontal swipe from one blade then a thrust from the second, both attacks again dodged and parried by a hair's breath.

"Come on Val!" Shayliss hissed as metal grazed her shoulder, "I know you don't want to do this!"

There was no answer. Metal flashed yet again and Shayliss could feel some of her red hair fall onto bare skin. Another attack came and only the metal plates weaved inside of her armor prevented her side from being sliced open. The ground shook and an order was shouted from the door, but Shayliss ignored it.

"Can't you remember the times we had?" She pleaded, "The secrets you told me? The ones I told you?"

There! It was faint, but there was a small light in Valtyra's eye. As soon as it appeared, it died back down. Yet, it was a shot of pure hope in Shayliss's system. If she could keep this up, maybe she could get through to her! The world quaked again and this time was accompanied by a giant's roar of pain. More orders and splattering of liquid.

Valtyra growled. Her body twisted at the hip and the rapiers came down in a whirlwind of motion. Now, Shayliss's shameless spying of Valtyra's training sessions paid off. Fighting the rush of emotions those memories invoked in the young girl, she raised her blade to clash against the first rapier. Somehow not missing a beat, she spun her weapon down to block the next. Instead of raising the blade again, like one might of expected, she lowered it even further and felt the jolt of connection with the first rapier's second spin. She kept it up throughout the whirlwind, flashes briefly lighting the immediate area. Shayliss thought that her arm would fall off from each impact yet she held on.

When the attack ended, Valtyra stumbled a bit. She had never been able to finish it and land steadily. Shayliss took advantage of that. Grimacing in worry, she lunged forward with her longsword. It was not meant to be a fatal stroke, even though she could have made it so. Instead, it was meant to be something that Valtyra should block out of instinct. That way Shayliss could hold her in place to talk more.

It worked for a split second, but Valtyra followed the block with a hard shove that sent Shayliss to her back. Armored back met rug covered stone and she let out a gasp of air. She did not have time to recover, though, as metal points threatened to enter her skull. Her head rolled to the side and Shayliss braced her body. As soon as she heard metal hit stone, she pulled her leg back and kicked outward. Boot met flesh and the half-elf was sent flying backward.

"Remember those nightmares?" Shayliss asked as she slowly rose to her feet, "Remember those nights that you could not sleep?"

Almost mirroring her, Valtyra was getting to her feet as well. Yet, it was not the quick motion of someone in the middle of combat. It was slow and thoughtful.

"Remember when you told me that you could not get rid of them until you returned here?" Shayliss was standing now and held her blade out in a cautious guard, "And I told you that I would stand by you no matter what?"

Shayliss was ready for another charge. She even expected it to happen. Yet, when Valtyra got to her feet again, she did not immediately attack. Instead she just stood there, holding her rapiers in a cautious guard as well. It was working.

"Why do you think I am here now?" Shayliss asked, "Why do you think I worked hard to train myself?" She motioned toward her grappling hook, "I even taught myself how to use a grappling hook like the mercenaries of the Stolen Lands favor. Because I wanted to help you!"

Something was happening behind those beautiful worn eyes. They shifted left, right, up and down like a crazed woman. Thoughts were practically visible flowing throughout her mind. Hope coursed through Shayliss's body. She was finally starting to get through.

"Do not listen to her."

Shayliss shot her gaze toward the woman sitting at the 'throne.' The woman's hand was raised toward Valtyra and a soft glow surrounded it.

"Do not believe her lies. She never loved you. Just used you to get at her father."

Shayliss ground her teeth in anger. Without another thought, she launched herself at the woman. The woman did not attempt to stop Shayliss and Shayliss thought that she had gotten her. Yet, metal crashed again and Valtyra stood in her way again. This time, though, her eyes were not as glazed over. Her face was confused, not sure of what to think.

The ground shook again, but this time it was farther away. As if the impact was in the hallway. Yet, it did not deter either of the combatants still in the room.

"I know you are listening to me." Shayliss whispered, "I know you believe me. I can help you remember. Help you past the confusion. Just help me kill her." She nodded toward the woman, who was now smiling at the clashing pair.

For a second, there was nothing but struggling against metal. Then, the glaze returned completely. Valtyra, with a growl, shoved against Shayliss harder than ever.


Do you have any comments, questions or concerns? Please leave a comment or email me at sean.francis@rivalcastmedia.com!

Also, you can follow me on Twitter for updates on The Fireside Tales, or just random statements I may make: @Miggnor23.

I'm quite lost. Can I see the previous Chapter?

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Next Chapter Coming On June 23rd!
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