• I had never really thought myself anything more than average at swordsmanship, but this dual made me realize I may have been better than I had previously believed. The boy I fought against, one of the best warriors in the lands, slashed at my torso. I barely managed to block the blow.
    My adversary’s name was Cadoc. He was well known throughout Ladir. His hair, an unusual shade of gold, flashed in the sunlight as he threw more shots at me. His sword came flying at my leg, which I parried quickly. As we fought, I noticed him tiring quickly, as he was leaving me on the defence for most of the fight. His muscles bulged as he struggled to keep his lead, while my movements were slowing down. He finally managed one last painful cut on my arm (I had been a second too slow blocking) and blood seeped through my sleeve.
    “Okay…” I backed away from him quickly, holding up my hands in defeat, “you win.”
    He shook his head, his exhaustion showing through his movements, “tired already?” he teased.
    I stabbed the tip of my sword in the ground in aggravation, “yes, okay? I’m not as good as you.”
    “Well to tell the truth,” he shrugged, “I’ve never actually fought anyone as good as you. Your one of the first people to tire me like that.”
    I smiled at the compliment, avoiding his gaze by looking at the people surrounding us. They had been watching the brawl, mostly cheering for him.
    The following days he and I spend a lot of time together, getting to know eachother. The more time I spent with him, the deeper in love I fell.
    Weeks later, I woke up drowsily and yawned.
    “You awake?” I sleepily asked Cadoc.
    No answer.
    “Cadoc?” I rolled over to see he was gone. That was weird, he never left without telling me. I got up and looked around the room to see any note, but none was there.
    Days, weeks, months passed, when I finally realized he wasn’t coming back. My heartbreak was the most painful thing I’d ever felt. I went through the days wishing he was with me, hoping he would come back. The stories of why he left were getting crazier and crazier in my dreams. I’d imagined he’d left with another girl, he’d been kidnapped, and craziest of all he commited suicide. I convinced myself he was happier now, though, which made me feel slightly more at ease.
    One particularly sunny day I was surprised to hear a knock at my front door. As I opened it I saw several people I’d never seen. Our village was small, so I would have recognized them if they had lived around here.
    “Um, hello.”
    “Sable, is it?” the only male in the group spoke.
    “Yes, that’s me. What do you want?”
    “We hear you fell in love with Cadoc, is that right? And he left you, yes?”
    I stared at them, holding back a sudden burst of tears. It took me a second before I could speak, “yes… do you know where he is?”
    The man half smiled in amusement, and nodded. “I’m surprised you hadn’t heard.”
    “Heard what?”
    “Well, he’s the king’s best warrior now.”
    My eyes grew wide in surprised, my mouth gaping. The king, King Jasper, was as evil as they came. He was the reason so many innocent people died, and why most of the people living in this continent were poor.
    “What are you talking about, that must be a different person.” I knew Cadoc well, and he was too good and noble to do such a thing.
    The nomad shook his head, “he didn’t leave. He was kidnapped. The king had heard about his swordsmanship abilities and had his best assassins kidnap him. He was brutally tourtured until he agreed to fight for the king until death. The reason we come to you,” he gestured at her, “was because we know you match him with a sword.”
    I shook my head. This was all too much. It must be a lie.
    “Look, you’ve got the wrong person.”
    After minutes of emotional conversation, they finally convinced me to come with them and train, so I could defeat him. These nomads were actually the leaders of a large rebel group who intended to attack the king at his capital city. The thought seemed hopeless, mostly due to the sheer numbers of soldiers the king had compared to the small 500 of us, but I was optimistic and half-heartedly agreed to help them. Of course, I still wasn’t convinced my Cadoc was a killer like they said.
    After weeks of training, I was easily able to best any of the nomads in a sword fight, and I could even beat 5 of the best fighters at the same time.
    The time soon came to attack the city. We were all very nervous, which was apparent in their faces. Our plan was to attack at dawn. We had separated our mini-army into 3 parts, two were to attack the main front gates, and one was to attack the north entrance. I was going to be with the third group, since they expected Cadoc and a small number of troops to be guarding that area.
    It was time. Our group began breaking the north gate without any conflict at first. When we got almost half way through, archers began to shoot at us from above. Finally, we broke through the gate, and were met by about 50 troops, one of which was Cadoc. I fought with all my strength, running people though with my sword, blood pooling on the ground. The smell was almost unbearable.
    Just then I stabbed a warrior when I heard a farmiliar voice behind me.
    “Your pretty good,”
    I turned around and saw Cadoc smiling at me. The sight sent butterflies through my stomach, and I flushed brilliant red. I was glad he couldn’t see me, seeing as how I was wearing a helmet that covered my face.
    “I…” I looked away from him, unable to look at his satanic eyes.
    He chuckled, “you fight like someone I used to know.”
    My heart fell and I looked quickly to his face. He was still smirking, no sign of sadness in his eyes.
    “Well,” I concluded, “let’s see who wins this time.”
    He looked confused by the statement, but held his sword ready.
    I ran at him, slashing at his stomach. He blocked, as I knew he would, and stabbed at my shoulder. I dodged. My heart was going crazy from the sight of him, which made it harder to fight. It was hard to breathe. I looked around desperately to find anything that could aid me, but saw nothing. He began to get frustrated at our matched skill, his face appearing stern. He managed to get several hits in, and I was covered in minor cuts. Finally, he stabbed at my stomach, and I was too slow to block. The blade pierced through my armor and into my torso. It didn’t hurt at first, mostly from the shock, but then the pain became unbearable. Warm blood ran down my abdomen. We both stood still for several seconds until I fell, cluching at the wound.
    He looked down at me, eyebrows furrowed. He quickly leaned down and pulled off my helm before I could stop him. Shock ran over his face.
    I closed my eyes, trying not to look at his face. My hands were going numb, which frightened me. I could feel myself getting weaker. He kneeled at my side and stroked my face.
    “I didn’t realize… I recognized your fighting style but I…” he was unable to continue.
    I took one last long look at him before I faded out of conciousness.