Blade Maidens: What Fools These Mortals Be – 2

“The battle? You want to know about that? ‘Course you do. Everyone does. Can’t bloody shake a sword without some little squire wanting to hear about the time I beat down the Drake of Eberwald.

Don’t know why anyone asks. They all already know the story. How he called for a duel. How we were cornered in that damned canyon. How I single-handedly felled the greatest warrior the Coalition had to offer and saved hundreds of lives. They just want me to tell them it’s all true.

They don’t want what really happened. Just once I’d like to tell them. Watch the look on whatever fussy count’s face as I tell him that I couldn’t beat the Lord Karholtz in a straight fight. He was the best I’ve ever seen. Swung that sword like it weighed as much as a feather, not 5 feet of tempered steel. That the only reason their king won the day was that The Drake got cocky. Wanted to make a show of it for his troops. Didn’t take me seriously. Got too caught up in the spectacle to tell a real swing from a feint.

That’s the day the common folk say I earned Gwyn’s hand in marriage. It’s horseshit, of course. She’s always been too smart to be swayed by something like that. I won her favor later.

What I earned that day was a lesson. That you can be a fighter born, a master of death and blade, and still end up bleeding out in the dirt. No fight’s a guarantee. The second you forget that, you’re courting Sepestra herself.”

– An excerpt from The Royal Accounts of King Osric I of Verdanna, unedited edition. Kept in the royal archives, separately from the public version of the Accounts.