Enemy

At first it was only a whistle, some bird calling in the night. Then I saw a flicker of light, and answered with my own. Sparks leapt up, revealing his face, the hungry grin that mirrored my own. With each stroke the hours fell away, the words that seemed so important, once, but not anymore. My sword in my hand, my enemy before me, and a smile upon my lips.

He struck at my face, dazzling my eyes, but even blind I found his edge, and drove it back. Dirt groaned under our feet, raising clouds of protest, which clung to our skin.

I swung high, too high, then dropped low, but he saw through my ruse, nicking my leg for my trouble. Blood mixed with the grime and dirt, drawing in strays to watched from afar.

On and on we went, trading blows, and wounds, but never managing more than a slight. Sweat grew thick in my brow, stinging my eyes, forcing me to wipe them clean.

It was a simple mistake, but he leapt at it, swinging with a force that felled trees. But I turned my blade to the side, sending his sword wide, and as it flew away, I struck, biting into his shoulder with a satisfying crunch. My blade held fast, and he swung again, but his sword found only empty air. I was already away, content to let him stagger, his side limp, his steps fumbling, as the hounds began their approach.

The moon was low in the sky by the time I stepped forward, planting my boot in his chest as I wrenched my blade free from what remained. Another notch under my finger, as I wiped it clean, and returned it to my hip.

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