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Encounter

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Sweeney Todd

Master Vampire
True Blood
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Mar 9, 2008
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4,036
#1
The tall man in the rimmed hat, long leather coat and jackboots stood in the middle of the glade. The Sigmarite pendant and crossbows strapped to his forearms made it clear who he was. Around him a young knight, in full battle armor save for his helmet, paced slowly while brandishing his unsheathed sword from time to time.

"Bloody hell, of all times..." muttered Geralt under his breath. He turned his horse around only to be confronted by the sight of spears blocking his escape.

The knight continued pacing around without looking at him. The soldiers, leaning on their spears, were watching gloomily and indifferently, with the expression of professionals for whom killing did not provoke much interest.

Geralt dismounted. The witch hunter and the knight quickly approached.

"We were informed of the presence of a creature like you nearby. I have a proposition for you and young Sir Goering here." said the witch hunter without preamble or any of the usual courtesies at all. The way he glanced at the soldiers made it clear that the 'proposition' was not one Geralt could afford to refuse.

"Our honorable knight needs the fame of defeating a monster, and his Order is going to give it to him. Otherwise you'd already be riddled with arrows. You allow yourself to be defeated and you save your miserable life. We can disregard your corpse or lack thereof as long as Wulfric nicks your skin. And your altered skin heals fast. So you must fight."

"Must?"

"Must."

"But do you not think, that Sir Goering, a man of good birth, does me too much honor?" Geralt frowned. "I never attained the honor of being knighted, and it's best not to mention the circumstances of my birth. I fear I'm, ah, unfit to give satisfaction and joust in the lists, or something like that-"

"His Order is governed by its own code." Interrupted the witch hunter "If it were you who challenged a Knight, he could either refuse or grant you satisfaction, according to his will. But this is the reverse; it is the Knight who challenges you, and by this he raises you to his own level - but of course, only for the duration of the duel. You can't refuse. The refusal of accepting the dignity would render you unworthy."

"How logical." Geralt said sarcastically. "So do go on, sir, what would happen if I was found to be...unworthy?"

"What would happen?" The witch hunter smiled maliciously. "Why, I'll have you hung from the branches, you scum."

"Scum? Me? I'm just an ordinary fellow on his way to Nuln."

"Ordinary fellow?" The witch hunter spat at his feet. "Blatant lies. Your pallor and hair color mark you out. You're an albino, a freak of nature, cursed by the gods. Not just that, you play at being a knight, a defender of the innocent. You shall be punished for your crimes, witcher." It was now clear to Geralt who was really behind the 'proposition'.

At this point one amongst the soldiers, evidently the sergeant in charge, approached and joined the conversation.

"Hold on. Take it easy, sirs. No need for such language, alright? If you want to talk like that do it with your fists."

"Don't you teach me manners, Gunther." The witch hunter hissed at the newcomer "And besides, your captain has given you orders that you are to follow my orders to the letter."

"You don't need to teach me. I know how to follow my orders. Allow me, Geralt. I'm Gunther Herzog." The witcher bowed his head in greetings , looking Gunther in the eye, light gray and steel-like beneath bushy flaxen eyebrows.

"Stand your ground, Mr. Geralt." continued Gunther. "It'll be better that way. It's not a fight to the death, only until one of you is helpless. So fight in the field and let him render you helpless."

"I beg your pardon?"

"Sir Goering is the Grand Master's favorite. If you touch him with your blade during the fight, you filth, you will be punished. Feldwebel Herzog will arrest you and probably send you to the hangman's noose." The witch hunter smiled maliciously. Geralt smiled as well, faintly and quite nastily.

"If I understand correctly, I'm to fight the duel because if I refuse, you'll have me hanged. If I fight I'm to allow my opponent to injure me because otherwise you will also send me to the noose. What charming alternatives, but why bother? How about I thump my head against a tree and render myself senseless? Would that satisfy you?"

"Don't sneer. Your mere existence is an insult to human and divine laws, and such foul witchcraft and mutation will be dealt with. So go on, decide. You've got little choice."

"That's what you think, isn't it?" His sneer deepened, and he looked around at the soldiers appraisingly. "Yes, I think I do."

"Weren't you trying to avoid bloodshed, Geralt?" Gunther said quietly. "Is this what you really want? Because the alternative you're thinking of now is bloodshed."

They looked each other in the eye, witcher and soldier, before Geralt spoke again.

"Very well, let's get this on with. Pity we're wasting the day." At that, the witch hunter's eyes glistened.

"You agree then. You'll fight a duel with Sir Goering of Bechafen?"

"Yes."

"Good. Prepare yourself."

"I'm ready." Geralt replied, pulling on his gauntlets. He was about to pull out one of the swords strapped on his back when the witch hunter interrupted.

"No, you won't be fighting with that razor of yours. Take my sword." The witch hunter pulled out his blade. Geralt shrugged and took it from him. He swiped it through the air to try it out.

"Heavy. We may as well use spades." Geralt said coldly.

"Sir Goering has the same. Equal chances."

"You're very funny."
 

Sweeney Todd

Master Vampire
True Blood
Joined
Mar 9, 2008
Messages
4,036
#2
The soldiers formed into a loose circle surrounding the glade. In the middle the young knight and the witcher faced off against each other. Geralt turned to look at the witch hunter for a moment

"My good sir, what do you say to an apology?" Both he and the knight sneered almost simultaneously, Sir Goering dropping into a fencing stance at the same time.

"No? You don't want to listen to reason? Pity."

Wulfric crouched slightly and suddenly sprang forward to attack without warning. Geralt did not even deign to dignify his wild lunge with a parry and instead avoided his opponent's strike with a fluid half-turn. Slowing down, the knight slashed at Geralt. Geralt's half-turn continued into a full agile pirouette, and Goering's sword only cut through air as a result.

The impetus of Wulfric's blind charge, and the weight of his heavy armor had severely hindered his attempts to reorientate himself to face Geralt. As a result, the witcher came out of his turn well before the knight had managed to regain his rhythm. Seizing the opportunity, Geralt immediately struck. Using the full reach of his arms Geralt slashed straight ahead. In the relative silence of the glade, the sound of sword meeting sword was like thunder. Wulfric's blade was deflected by the head on impact so hard that it struck him in his own face. Sir Goering immediately fell to his knees and howled.

The witch hunter immediately ran forward. Geralt dug the sword he was holding into the ground and turned to face him.

"Guards! Kill him!"

"Hold your ground!" Feldwebel Gunther Herzog growled a countermand immediately. The soldiers immediately froze without their weapons at the ready.

"Since you insist, I shall execute my orders to the letter. The witcher did not touch honorable Sir Goering. The kid hit himself with his own steel. Tough luck."

"But he's disfigured!"

"Skin heals." Gunther turned his gaze upon Geralt "And the scar? For a knight, a scar is a badge of honor, a mark of valorous conduct, and isn't that what his Grand Master wished for him? A knight without a scar is a pussy, not a knight. Ask him, I think he's pleased."

Wulfric was rolling about on the ground, alternating between wailing and spitting out curses. The last thing he looked like was pleased.

"Herzog! You'll pay for this treachery, I swear!" Both Gunther and Geralt ignored his raving though and instead started to converse with each other.

"This kindness you show me is unusual. May I ask why?"

"Your silver sword saved my home village from a foul mutant aberration. While I may have left it behind, my mother still stays there; you saved her life, and everyone else's. I guess you could say I owe you for that." Noises of general assent came from behind; apparently he was the unknowing benefactor of more than one of them. Geralt did not smile, though his expression lightened.

The witch hunter's anger and unreasoning hatred came to a boiling point. Noticing the sudden silence and the look on his face, Geralt pulled the runeblade from his back before the witch hunter could turn around to fire his handbows. He did not have time to aim; his target, Geralt had anticipated what he was going to do and was already moving. The shots he fired missed, but this time Geralt showed how fast he could really be when he had to. His blade flashed through the air and the bolts fell to the ground cloven in two. Before he could reload Geralt was already in front of him. He took a step past his attacker and turned smoothly on the spot to kick him in the back of his knee, bringing him to the ground. Geralt's runic sword was a motion blur as the very edge of its tip cut through the hunter's hat rim and into his forehead, and came to a halt above the bridge of his nose.

Fear stole onto the witch hunter's face as a trickle of blood from the extremely shallow and precise cut dripped into his eye.

"I have words for you, nameless zealot and your puppet knight." Geralt growled. "One thing really interests me. Sir Wulfric Goering! And the slayer of heretics whose name I do not know! If I, let us say, felt disgusted and insulted at your attitude throughout this whole farce, if I challenged you to a fight to the death right now, what would you say? Would you consider me worthy enough to cross blades with? Or would you refuse, even though you knew that by doing so I would take you to be unworthy to be spat on, punched in the face, kicked in the arse and generally humiliated in front of the foot soldiers? Sir Goering, please do satisfy my curiosity." Wulfric immediately whimpered, whereas the witch hunter turned even paler than he already was and tried to back away

"Even though you're not saying anything, you've already satisfied my curiosity." Geralt continued, "And now I'll satisfy yours. If either of you bothers Sergeant Herzog or his men in any way, or unduly intrudes upon them, I'll seek you out, hunt you down and not caring about any code of honor, bleed you like a pig." The duo cowered visibly.

"Don't forget my promise. I'll be off now."

"Farewell, Geralt."

"Farewell, Gunther, and comrades. I am both pleased and lucky to have met you today. Hopefully we'll meet again later."

"The feeling's mutual, Geralt. Take care." Neither the witch hunter nor the knight dared to try and attack Geralt as he rode off into the distance.
 

Sweeney Todd

Master Vampire
True Blood
Joined
Mar 9, 2008
Messages
4,036
#3
Hours had passed since the 'interesting' events earlier in the day. it was growing late and Geralt would soon have to find somewhere to make camp or spur his mare on towards the nearest inn. Just then, his medallion began to tingle.

TO BE CONTINUED
 
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