* * *
As the lightning crashed to the ground Mercaitorís stalker sprang into action. Lifting high into the air the attacker meant to come down all at once with one fatal blow. Mercaitor gracefully unsheathed his sword clashing against his opponentís strike. Both fighters were pushed back from the force of contact sliding to a halt in the slick mud. The thief or assassin was not greatly skilled and stumbled at the surprising grace to which his target countered his attack. Now squared up the two men danced in a circle aware of every move the other made. Mercaitorís cloak lay on the floor taken off as he rolled against the thiefís initial attack and drew his sword. His uniquely decorated armor now felt the cold sting of the freezing rain. The thief saw his mistake for the first time. The brash knight stood tall and every inch bulged with pure muscle. Yet despite his massive strength the seemingly twenty year old man possessed a dancers grace with a sword.
The thief was armed with a dagger which he tossed to his left hand and held fast. Then with his newly freed right hand he reached behind his back and pulled down a blood smeared short sword. He slid it out slowly as if he enjoyed the slight shaving sound of the cold metal. Mercaitor Icewolf sized up his enemy then grabbed his long sword with two hands, a style that he preferred in a one on one battle. Using his sword with two hands increased its speed, strength, and accuracy making every strike count.
The obviously ambidextrous opponent made the first move with his short sword leaving his dagger behind to guard against a counter attack. Mercaitor easily swept the thiefís thrust sideways knocking him off balance. Mercaitor with almost a playful look about himself instantly followed the parry move with a quick slice at the thiefís leg. The cloak was perfectly sliced so that if blood had not smeared the cloth you would never know he hit his opponent. Rain relentlessly poured down on the fighters as they continued their battle dance. This time even more wary of a counter the thief attacked. In a beautiful display of skill Mercaitor brought the short sword across his body rolled on the thiefís arm as if it were a track never breaking physical contact until he reached the shoulder of the thief. Now standing side to side and back to back Mercaitor thrust his sword behind him never looking back, knowing his opponent would still be there shoved forward and stumbling due to his swift action. The sword tore through its target forcing the thief to arc his back in unbelievable pain. As the sword ripped through the front of the thief it dripped with his lifeblood. The world began to fade out; each blink seemed longer and longer as he felt himself fall to the ground in seemingly slow motion. After the sudden impact against the cold, wet, hard, muddy ground it began to feel comfortable to the thief as he closed his eyes for the last time. The rain fell down onto his lifeless face in a mocking fashion. Once the thief observed the calmness of his target in battle he knew he was in trouble. He put his mind to rest attacked, failed, and died all in a matter of seconds.
Mercaitor stood unmoved except to pull back his sword and sheath it. He now turned around to see the aftermath of the battle in which he had engaged. The pitiful thief was no challenge in battle but was a great stalker; maybe if Mercaitor was not so aware the first strike by the thief would have been enough. He lifted his head in wonder and felt the rain beat against his face blurring his vision and stinging his eyes. Now the rain felt good cooling his heated body, relaxing his battle ready muscles, but he had to move on, striding forth even more aware of his surroundings then before. The air was even more relaxed and the occasional breeze seemed warmer then before. The trees no longer looked withered but pained by the freezing rain that robbed them of the suns during the day and beat them down during this eventful night. Mercaitor once again fell into his repetitive stride walking to his destination seemingly forever away. Time seemed longer in the rain and he didnít like it. The days walk seemed like a month and the nights travel a year. But soon he would arrive. Tomorrow he thought.
* * *