Ch 3a: Mirror

February 22, 2007

Hmm… No inspiration. 811 words.

The rain had stopped.

Looking out the window, she found a desolate landscape waiting for her. Miles and miles of desert stretched before her eyes, barren. Most had shied away from the desert, preferring not to look at it. She let her eyes roam however, picking out the minute nuances. A dune shaped just a little differently, a small speck in the sky; the desert was not as lifeless as it was often painted out to be. It was lonely though.

“Commander Romanov? Do you have a moment?” An aide came up to her. She was a pretty young thing; a pleasant face with a bob haircut and a beret that made her look much younger than her age. Still, even with that haircut, she was still older than the one she had called Commander.

“Yes?” She turned to the woman who spoke. Romanov looked far younger than her early twenties.

“The debriefing will begin soon.”

“I’ll be right there,” Romanov got up from her seat watching the desert and straightened her gown. The short white Grecian gown was plain except for the single black symbol on the right side of the skirt.

The Ankh designated its holder as the Wielder of Death.

~~~~~~

“The fight is over when one of you is unconscious or surrenders. There is no penalty for falling out of the ring,” the judge sprite, a small pixie-like creature with wings, flew around the two students in the ring.

“I understand,” they spoke together, never taking their eyes off each other.

“Take three steps back,” the sprite flew high above the ring, letting both participants have space between them. When it was satisfied that everything was ready, it raised its hand.

“Go!”

The two raced forward.

The girl landed the first blow. She evaded his first blow and hit him with a surprising right hook. Her blows were fast and furious; despite her looks, she moved like a seasoned boxer. He had no chance to fight back, but something worried her. Most would have fallen by now, but he was still standing, and even worse; moving fluidly, as though in time to catch her moves.

He was not resisting her blows, but taking them full on. From the first she knew that he was not a physical fighter per se, but the way he took her blows without trying to return them after that first try was unsettling. Even that had been a half-hearted attempt. A glint in his eye warned her, and she fell back. He straightened himself unsteadily.

“You can do better than that,” she spoke to him almost contemptuously. He wiped the blood trailing down his chin.

“I can, but I always let my opponents have the satisfaction of the first hit,” he smiled at her, and then raised his hand so that his palm faced her.

The rune for Death shone on his palm.

~~~~

“The fight is over when one of you is unconscious or surrenders. There is no penalty for falling out of the ring,” the judge sprite’s words echoed in the man’s head.

It took a moment for the implications to sink in.

It’s an inheritance fight? But what are the stakes, master? the sprite that served him spoke to him in his mind.

This should have been a selection fight, he replied the same way, a cold rage beginning to take hold. At the inquiring hmm? he got from the sprite, he explained carefully that a selection fight was used between schools to either gain or lose students. Champions of the schools were often sent into battle and the winners would be able to choose certain students from the opposing schools, depending on the stakes. Transfers among lower-class schools such as public schools were common but those among the extremely private and privileged schools like his sister’s were rare, simply because they almost always had the best.

But this is an inheritance fight. It was one of the few things that the sprite knew well, having been passed around in this manner for quite some time.

The rules were quite clear on what the different fights could mean. In an inheritance fight, the winner had to be clearly decided, which was why they had the unconscious rule. Of course, there was not that much difference between an inheritance fight or a feud encounter; his mind shied away from the latter. He was quite sure that no one who had a family feud with them knew the existence of his sister; at least not enough to arrange this. Feud fights were also quite bloody and in many cases, fatal.

Can it be stopped?

No. Not when it’s begun, he settled down to wait.

When your siblings were favourites of the Gods, sometimes you had to leave it to Chance.

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