I keep moving back, back, drawing him to me as a magnet draws steel. I move in and out of trance, sometimes seeing an SS guard, complete with the dreaded insignia on the coat – he knows of my ancient morbid fear of men in police or military uniforms. Sometimes I see a Melkiar robot in gleaming black metallic armour and the staff becomes a death tube. Sometimes it’s a giant demon from hell, his black carapace smoking and his eyes red laser beams. Then I see a human being desperate to escape the mould his vices have locked him into for eternity or until his Valkyrie, his Avenging Angel of Death and Ultimate Mercy kills him and pulls his soul from it. I see an evil black hooded Darth Vader from an Old Earth flatvid sci-fi production coming at me with a red light stick.
End blog post #74
Begin blog post #75
For one full hour we go through the motions of a fight. We dance around each other, doing no real damage. I have not yet taken the stim hidden in my hair nor have I had to use my bionic enhancements. Warmo is unlike anything I’ve ever encountered in this place. There is something utterly inhuman in him. He carries his own enhancements; a combination of power that reeks of hell. I am repulsed by the thoughts in his mind. His darkness is terrible. His body exhudes a foul stench of putrefaction.
My mind probe tells me he drank the blood of some of his victims mixed in chakr; that he is addicted to it. Have I now met a real life humanoid vampire? And how do you kill a vampire? With a wooden stake through the heart. Did it have to be precisely at midnight? I cannot remember but I know that the Old Earth tale of horror has in fact manifested itself on Malefactus, at least for me. How many times did I warn people on Old Earth that everything they ever thought, wrote about, dreamed of, or imagined, had to become a living manifestation in some dimension? That they would in some future incarnation either encounter their creations or be one of them? Malefactus would be a custom-made world for human vampires if one existed and was actually killed on Old Earth. Here is where it would naturally re-incarnate.
I am repelled and fascinated by this vision or revelation. I jump out of trance and watch the human part of him struggling with me. His attacks are fast and subtle. He has devious and unexpected moves, but that’s not where his focus lies. He’s drawing me into a place of his own choosing, like a flame draws a moth. He does not intend to kill me with his weapons, at least not directly. Yes – and I think he allows me to know this – he is going to have poison put on his dagger, but that too is a side show. He’s got something else in mind. I take a chance and trance again. Now I’m met with a barrage of confusing images. I won’t get anymore information, he’s sensed my probe and is blocking. I jump out and now it’s time for the physical approach.
One and one half hours and nothing to show for it. We are both as fresh and cool as when we began. It’s as if we were just floating over the sand. There is no blood. Ah, blood. Vampires like blood, particularly women’s blood. What will happen to his cool exterior if he sees blood on me? Will it weaken or empower him? Will he become wary or will he attack? I decide no blood. Let his be the first. I change my tactics with a violent rush and stab him in the thigh. First blood drawn. He seems surprised, backs off a little then smiles at me. His hand slips down into the blood and he licks the protecting gauntlet.
In turn he attacks violently. I engage my bionics then and parry his attack easily. I smack his gauntlet-protected fingers but still that had to smart. I spin my staff and do a Deirdre pole vault over him coming down behind and smashing into his shin so hard my staff vibrates in my hands. He almost falls over, recovers, spins and lays his staff to my shoulder. A powerful individual. My shoulder remains numb for a few seconds and throbs like hell. I jump back out of reach. We both survey the space between us. Who attacks next? Our eyes lock.
He comes to me in a crouch as low as he dares and tries to enter below my defences to cut into my calf. The slicing edge of the staff point comes to millimetres of my dancing foot but fortunately for me he attacked my bionic side. A blur is all his staff goes through. But the move is enough to allow him to pull the long sword which he wields with one hand while still using the staff to block my blow to his head. Part of it connects and he drops the staff to come around with the deadly sword. If I parry with my staff he’ll cut it in half. If I don’t I’m dead. That’s what my brain tells me. My training. I drop into trance to slow him down in my mind. First I see him kick his fallen staff over the low wall so I can’t grab it. Then I see the sword engaging the staff and cutting it cleanly in half. I see a huge nick in the sword weakening the blade, throwing off the balance, rendering it useless in this sort of intricate combat.
He finishes his turn, kicking his staff out over the wall where a guard picks it up and holds it. Instead of parrying his deadly swath with the middle of the staff I give him the blunt end to bite into. A quarter of the staff goes flying but his sword has the nick in it I saw in the vision. I rebalance the remaining piece of staff, engage the extender fully and return to the attack. I force him to cut at the staff again. He does, cuts through the staff again but shatters his sword near the half point. I pursue him madly now. He parries with a half sword and I attack with less than a half staff. It would be comical if our lives did not lie in the balance. We continue, no choice. Only the “time out” trumpet can stop this.
I realize that in my eagerness I’ve activated my front sole blades. I try to quickly find a way to use them because they are now obstructing my steps. Damn stupid woman, you call yourself a professional gladiator? A trainee would have known not to do that! I parry another truncated sword slash to the side. He connects enough to cut in my right thigh through the side slit in the tunic. My blood flows and I can sense him licking his lips. He smiles. Attacks. Comes closer. Just as he comes in for another cut I lift my bionic leg and drive the foot blade deep into his arm then pull back. The moment of shock is enough for me to retract the damn blades and regain my natural stance and begin a whole new dance. Now I feel my sweat, but it’s more of a cold sweat than exertion. He secretes a smell of death, and it’s not a carry-over from his victims in the dungeons. It’s in his blood! I got a sure whiff of it from the stabbed arm.
While I draw him after me again I marvel at the design and temper of those short blades in the sandals. It penetrated cheelth as if it was paper and I’d be willing to bet there is hardly any dulling of the cutting edges. Way to go Master Smith, I love you!
End blog post #75