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Fairy Tales Are A Myth, Mate

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You raise your sword into a defensive position. Lethargy grips your limbs with strong suckers, taking any remaining energy you may have left and leaving you with the knowledge that a good strong strike will knock you off your feet. It has been a long battle – you are just about evenly matched, and each have a strong incentive urging you on. Another few minutes, and it will all be over; one of you has to die, the code demands it. A smart thing to do would probably be surrender, but you are a knight, and thus bravery and the code of honour command you to continue. Instead of letting the sword fall and running away, so that maybe you have a chance of seeing the rising sun adorn the sky in couple of hours, you step forward to meet your opponent. To face an honourable death (to meet it helmet on, in a fight that could most likely have been avoided) is part of the job description.

He is scowling, your opponent, and you can just imagine his brows furrowing underneath the metal helmet as he concentrates, each breath becoming deeper and more focused. He knows a ‘good offensive is the best defensive’ too, no doubt; it is one of the basic sayings taught to each new pupil at battleschool, no matter which region one hails from. The only question is, does he have the strength left? From the trembling of his sword arm, and the tense, white gripped double-hand hold he has upon his blade as you cross foibles in preparation for another bout, you doubt it. You attack, but he has anticipated this, and swiftly ripostes, twists his sword and hooks your own out of your grip. With no weapon, you are now helpless, and you have none – unthinkingly, you stripped off any unnecessary equipment to lighten your load before the duel began. In the legends you have heard, something always happens at approximately this time, something miraculous which would allow you to regain you strength and blade and win.

But this is no fairy tale, and so the knight who is in the right does not always win. Dead, mate. That’s what you are.



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