Duel of representatives
Canaar is a bordering city. A fortress built north of the territory and representing the end of the Irenit land. The last sighting of foreign forces near the walls was rather recent, but that fact had only been repeated after 200 years, and almost 300 years if we talk about the last time in which a confrontation had been waged.
Because the general's call is a top priority and I had to travel urgently, I ended up riding next to the soldier of the communications squad in his Razorante, and thanks to the creature's exceptionally fast jogging speed, it only took us a few days before we could glimpse our destiny.
The beast was strange, a monster mutation that through generations had become a domesticable animal. Its origin dates back to the discovery of a foreign tribe that had managed to train them to use them as pack animals. Their advantage lay in the extraordinary speeds they were able to develop in the plains, which exceeded several times those that a horse in similar conditions could reach. It was not surprising that its use in messaging was an indispensable element.
As we approached, I missed the hustle and bustle that could have resonated from this meeting in the capital. Normally, duels of representatives take place in the land of Acme, since they are of great political importance, and at the same time they serve as a spectacle for those citizens from the capital. But the general didn't want to waste time and asked for it be done here the day after I arrived. Petition they had to accept, since it was he who had received the challenge.
Although I am glad to return, I did not know that I would do it without bringing with me at least the glory of one victory ... I have to make sure to remedy that here and now. On the other hand, I must say that I never thought the first time I would witnessed one of these clashes, it would be mine.
The time had come. The confrontation would take place in view of a large audience, which included people not only from the city, but from all over Iren. Two representatives would fight in a skill match for power and glory.
On one hand, were the lord of Saladdi and his champion, Apoc. The latter was a blond man in his late thirties, slightly taller and stocky than Jemur. He wore an open-sleeved fabric shirt, embroidered below the leather vest that preceded his steel bib. In his muscular arms the characteristic tanned complexion of the Irenits was appreciated.
On the other side was the representative of the general Demon of two horns, Jemur of the sixth. Wearing his uniform, the full body red armor of the Acme, which in his case wore gold edges, indicating his position as commander.
For this contest, both representatives carried a ceremonial sword with the same characteristics. As for the rest of their equipment, each one had the freedom to use what he preferred. In Jemur's case, it was the armor he proudly wore.
To everyone's surprise, the host and judge of the duel was none other than the King of War himself, Alamek the Red. Maybe that man was aware of the importance of the duel, or maybe he was only interested in seeing it, moved by his mere curiosity. However, only a handful of people were able to discern what was going on in the head of that particular man.
Alamek was identical in height to Jemur. He wore a red cape and a ceremonial robe that gave no doubt that it would be he who would judge the contest. He was a stocky man who let his bare arms look the same way Apoc did. There were many small scars that could be seen on both arms, particularly on the right one.
Without wasting time, the parties approached the center of the arena and showed their respects to the king, who without giving more importance decided to end the formalities quickly.
"As the law dictates, come forward and give your name".
Deciding by duel is a traditional ritual, even before the warlords appointed representatives to participate. In case of death, those who face give their name and say what they want to be remembered from them in doing so. This is a permission to speak and be heard one last time.
"I am Apoc, champion of Saladdi. Undefeated in 13 matches and 214 fights for my position among the 32 ... 33 warriors".
"I am Jemur, son of Jemer; captain of the third platoon of the desert general, son of Hamor the lost. Representative of the general Demon of two horns".
Jemur's words made Apoc's eyes widen for a moment. But he said nothing more, his moment to speak had already passed.
"In the name of the founder, fight with honor. With the authority bestowed upon me by Iren's crown, let this fight decide who will bow his head to the other's requests".
That said, the king left the arena, leaving the contestants facing each other. Without the presence of the king, Apoc took the opportunity to say the words that had almost escaped from his mouth after the presentation of Jemur.
"As someone who has passed the trial of Acme, you were accepted as an Acme soldier regardless of your past. Why would you want to be remembered as the grandson of the lost? You didn't even mention your title as commander of the sixth Acme legion".
"I always was and will be the grandson of my grandfather Hamor. I never thought of it as a shame, even though my father did. And at this moment I do not command the sixth legion. I am the representative chosen by the general, a much more important title".
"I will not deny that your lord is more powerful than mine, but that does not mean that you will win".
"You are right, I will not win because my lord is stronger than yours. I will do it because I am stronger than you".
And while the blood rose to Apoc's head, the king gave the signal to start the fight.
"May you be a better soldier ... It doesn't make you a better warrior!"
Without wasting time, Apoc reduced the distance between them with a single impulse. Holding his sword in front, he charged at Jemur as if he were an arrow let loose.
For someone with Jemur's skill level, such an attack was easy to counter. However, just when he had begun to extend his arm to make a slash with his blade, he was surprised by an unexpected movement from Apoc.
He had aimed his sword at the ground, hitting it hard, but not burying it too much. As if it were a pole, he used it to boost himself again, passing over Jemur without receiving his counterattack and positioning himself behind him. In front of his eyes, Jemur's back left his neck exposed.
"It's you- Goagh!"
Taking advantage of the rotational force he had used in his previous movement, Jemur extended his leg on which he no longer supported his weight and kicked his opponent's stomach without even looking back.
While that was happening, the euphoric screams of the spectators were heard, as well as the conversations of the most well-known fighters, who could identify the combat tactics employed by each of the fighters.
"Oh! That is an incredible reaction time. It is also necessary to know exactly where the opponent will fall for the kick to connect that way".
"Apoc's surprise attack was also incredible, and although he received a kick, in the precarious position in which he left his opponent it couldn't be a blow too strong".
As viewers appreciated. While he had managed to avoid the attack, Jemur had failed to inflict significant damage. On his side, Apoc recognized Jemur for not having fallen for his deception.
Pretending that you fall into the provocations of the opponent, so that he trusts you to attack as he had anticipated. In the past, that tactic had earned him more than a dozen fugacious victories, generally meaning that the opponent had underestimated him. Obviously, as someone who retained his position among the 32 warriors for more than 10 years, Apoc was not a man so simple as to get carried away in a duel.
As for Jemur, his almost instantaneous response to his adversary's offense was because he had contained himself in his counterattack. It was always important to keep the guard in a fight. Although a timely attack could decide victory, allowing yourself to be vulnerable could also mean defeat. Something that Jemur was determined to avoid at any cost.
After adopting his position again, Apoc resumed his offensive with a series of fast lunges that Jemur didn't have much trouble blocking. Evidently, the attacks were not intended to win the fight, but to keep Jemur under pressure in search of an opening. Or that is what he thought. After a few more lunges, Apoc backed away, producing distance between them. Only to later close distances and repeat the process.
Whatever Apoc planned, escaped from Jemur's reach. It was impossible for him to understand what he was up to. This rapid succession of attacks taken its toll on Apoc, who after several repetitions of his rain of blows and kicks began to show signs of exhaustion. Some sweat and long breaths in the kicks betrayed the effort that his movements began to cost him.
For his part, Jemur had remained merely defensive. The energy he used to block the attacks was way less, since it hardly required movement. His adversary's attacks were almost too easy to predict, they were almost always the same, with slight variations to discourage him from trying to counterattack by reading his movements.
Not just that, Jemur was a much younger and in better condition opponent. Even at his prime, Apoc couldn't compare his physical and energy capabilities with those of a full-fledged Acme soldier as his rival was.
It was for this reason that he decided to abandon the idea of a direct confrontation. Being overcome in strength it wasn't a good idea to prolong the clash of swords, the smartest thing was to take his distance before his opponent had the opportunity to use his advantage over him.
Apoc had opted for a different strategy, one that was only possible thanks to his great experience as a representative duelist and the inexperience of his adversary.
Apoc's attacks were easy to predict and block. After all they were always directed to the same places. So Jemur could always block in the same way. Of course he wasn't going to let his guard down, he was alert in case Apoc tried something, so he wouldn't be surprised with a sudden change of pace in his repeated movements.
The plan was different. Unlike Jemur, an Acme soldier who wears the best Iren equipment, Apoc had been one of the thirty-two warriors for years and knew the limitations of ceremonial weapons well.
Before Jemur was able to decipher his adversary's strategy, everyone's eyes were able to watch as Jemur's sword broke and most of his blade fell apart. Apoc's strategy had resulted in destroying his opponent's weapon through a dent and wear caused by the repeated impact of his blade at various key points.
"This is how you beat someone who is stronger and more skilled than you. Don't underestimate an Iren champion!"
Apoc pointed his sword against his now helpless rival, who could do nothing but try to cover himself with his left arm and hope that his armor would protect him.
Of course, Apoc was aware of the resistance of the acclaimed red armor. He was not going to allow his sword to suffer the same fate as that of his enemy and let his advantage disappear. With great technique he aimed at the joint in the arm, the weak point of the armor, before Jemur managed to lift it to defend himself. It was a quick stab that pierced the arm and came out from behind the elbow, spilling blood.
"This time I have you".
"Rather I have you".
Taking advantage of the forward posture Apoc took to stab his arm, Jemur reached to hold his neck with his right hand, which was covered by the gauntlet of his armor.
Without wasting time he began to squeeze with all his strength. And although his opponent tried to draw his sword to use it, Jemur moved his arm in response, making sure the sword remained trapped in it. Even with a little longer arms, Apoc couldn't release his weapon, while Jemur brought his head closer and with it his body towards him, to make it impossible for Apoc to get it.
"You made a mistake by wasting your energy on breaking my sword. Now I will break you".
Apoc not only tried to draw his sword, he also used his free hand to hit Jemur's face in an attempt to free himself from his grip, but he kept holding his neck, preventing the passage of air to an already exhausted Apoc, whose muscles began to weaken due to their inability to recover the oxygen that had been deprived from them by the continuous effort to which they had been subjected. Finally, Apoc lost consciousness and stopped fighting.
"It's all. The winner is Jemur, the representative of the general Demon of two horns".
After the king's words, Jemur opened his hand and Apoc's body collapsed on the floor. With his hand now free, he removed the sword from his arm and walked towards the king.
"At no time did he release his sword, not even to try to take my hand off his neck, he knew that without it he couldn't win. He was definitely a proud warrior of Iren".
"The last one I deprived of oxygen for so long suffered from permanent brain damage that cost him the ability to move quickly and severely affected his reaction time. Although he had remained alive, he could no longer be a warrior again. The most honorable was to end his life here and now".
"Despite the discussion they had at the beginning, they have granted him a dignified death. They are as merciful as I had heard".
"I just did what any Irenit would have done".
"On top of that, they have brought honor to thy lord. I am sure the general will be very pleased with thy victory".
"Everything has been as the general wanted it. After all, we had the duel here, in the limit of the territory of Iren, so that the general could leave as soon as I won the fight".