The Dragon Boat part 12

I need to thank Wolf for his help with the fight scene. It really helps having an SCA warrior at my beck and call. (teeheehee) He walked me through the fight scene and helped bloody it up. ~*~Wordwytch

It was still dark when Ellisif, Farulf and the rest of the men came to the doors of the arena where Lothar and Olaf were to fight. The Varangian Guards let them in and showed them where they could watch. Ellisif stood at the rail, watching for the first sight of Lothar. She’d barely slept.

“Aren’t you a pretty one,” said a voice behind her.

Ellisif turned, dagger in hand. “Who are you?”

The ‘pretty’ man in Byzantine robes smiled. “I am the Kizlar Agasi, the head Eunuch of the Emperor’s Imperial Harem.”

“Well, go away. I’m married.” Ellisif gestured with her dagger.

“Ah, if your man dies, you are mine for the taking. The Emperor likes women with your coloring.” He reached out a hand and touched her hair.

“Don’t touch me!”

The Kizlar Agasi laughed. “You should be nice to me. Otherwise, I can have you hurt in ways you’ll beg me for release and never leave a mark on you.”

Bjorn came up beside Ellisif. “Go away you ball-less thing!”

The Kizlar Agasi smiled, bowed, and walked away.

Bjorn wrapped an arm around Ellisf. “Come. The battle is due to start. The merchant has sent a champion.”

“Won’t fight his own fight?”

“No, and for that, I am worried.” They sat down with the rest of the men. It wasn’t long before the gates opened and three men came out. Olaf, Lothar and a giant. Before anyone could move, Varangian Guards moved up behind the crew of the Dragon Boat. Then a man in rich robes appeared and sat next to the Kizlar Agasi.

“Is that the Emperor?” Ellisif asked.

“No. That’s a vizier. Sort of a judge. We were taken before him when the merchant complained,” said Farulf.

The Vizier said something and then Olaf was given a sword and shield. The giant was also armed. He had a mace and a buckler the size of Olaf’s chest. A horn blew and the two men began to fight.

Olaf charged, yelling a battle cry. The giant moved silently, swinging the mace like it was a stick. Olaf caught it on his shield and was thrown back. Olaf steadied himself and then attacked again. This time he got close enough to slice the giant’s calf. The giant bellowed and began to swing the mace faster and faster. It was all Olaf could do to keep the shield up to fend off the blows. He tried to attack with his sword, and the mace broke the sword in half with a blow. Olaf tossed the sword shard away and tried to stay away from the mace. The giant brought the mace down in a back and forth motion which caught Olaf on the shoulder and sent him hurling to the sand. Olaf didn’t move.

The horn blew and the fight stopped. Olaf was dragged off to a side of the arena. The giant sat down.

“Is he dead?” Dagr asked.

“I don’t think so. Shoulder broken and arm, but maybe not dead,” said Ragnar who was standing at the rail.

The horn blew again. The giant got a new buckler and moved out onto the sand. Lothar was unchained and given a sword and buckler. He looked like a child compared to the other man. He’d watched the fight and was glad that Olaf had at least nicked the giant a few times. He raised the buckler in front of his face and placed his sword down his back, with the elbow up by his ear. Lothar bounced on the balls of his feet, with knees bent. Then he waited.

The giant strode in and began to swing the mace in wide strokes. The dark Varangian dodged and moved off to one side, avoiding the mace. The giant swung it harder, trying to make it reach the man. He stepped out with his right leg, trying to extend the length of his swing. As the mace swept from right to left, the man darted in, and the sword flashed out in an arch and caught the giant at the back of the right leg, just below the knee. The giant bellowed in pain as blood trickled down the calf.

Lothar dodged past the return stroke of the mace and moved behind the giant who turned. Buckler up and sword behind his back, Lothar danced on the balls of his feet. He knew that the mace would turn him into mashed flesh if it caught him. The giant roared and began to swing the mace as fast as he could. Lothar kept dancing out of the way, hoping to wear him out just a bit. He waited for the giant to tangle himself up in his mace and buckler as well.

The giant wanted to kill the little Varangian. His leg was bleeding and he was running out of energy. The merchant said he could have the little woman first before she went to the harem. He took a deep breath and tossed the buckler to one side, so that he could better swing the mace.

Lothar knew that the giant was weakening. He waited for the mace to swing and darted in again. The sword came in low and flat, slapping the giant right in the balls. The giant gasped, and froze for a second. Lothar rotated around. The sword tip caught and cut the inside of giant’s left thigh. The edge of the blade sliced the top of the right thigh to the bone. The giant screamed as blood gushed from both wounds. The sand at his feet became red with blood.

Lothar stopped and turned, which placed him behind the giant who was motionless. He brought his sword up and braced it with his shield hand. Lothar aimed for the fold of skin just under the left shoulder blade and drove the sword forward as hard as he could. The giant dropped the mace, looked in shock at the sword tip and blood that burst through his chest and began to fall forward. Lothar used the momentum of the giant falling forward to pull the sword clear of the body. He fell back into fighting stance, with sword down his back and shield high. Lothar stood trying to catch his breath. The whole fight had lasted less than five minutes.

Ellisif was over the rail and running across the sand to Lothar before any of the Varangian Guards could stop her. The rest of the crew was up on their feet cheering and shouting. The horn blew, but no one listened. She ran around the blood and gore that had been the giant.

Lothar flinched as Ellisif approached. He grabbed her, and moved her behind him in one swift motion. He stood with shield up, waiting… waiting to see if there was further treachery.

He was blood spattered. She placed her hand on his back and he hissed. “You hurt?”

“Yes. They roughed us up before we came out to make the fight ‘fair’. I think I have a broken rib or two. From that, no,” he said gesturing to the giant with his chin.

Ellisif looked over towards Olaf. “Is he dead?”

“I don’t know. They beat him up too.” Lothar walked warily and kept Ellisif shielded as they moved over to where Olaf lay in the sand.

Farulf and the men walked over to the Vizier. “Let my men go. We won the fight. Honor has been satisfied.”

The Vizier nodded and the horn blew again. Men moved out to pick up Olaf and escort Lothar and Ellisif out of the arena. “Your man fought well. Would he want a position with the Emperor? He could be a captain.”

“Not my decision. I just want my men, my cargo and to go back to Hólmgarðr.” Farulf growled and then turned on his heel to leave. The rest of the crew followed. Gundar and Snorri jumped down into the arena to help Lothar and Olaf.

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