A New VoiceMature

Trywen - Voice of Ruin Squire

The blunted tourney sword arched upwards at her chest. Trywen parried it away with a grunt and delivered a vicious cross-slash in reply. There was a hollow clack as she found only the wood of Mirrer's oak shield.

"Your breathing is awkward, your movements are the same." Mirrer chided.

Sweat ran down her ivory skin. Her silvery-white hair hung down from under her helm. It whipped around behind her, down to her thighs in a bound ponytail. She was breathing hard, but she was not about to admit it. They had been fighting for hours it seemed, but she was not finished, yet.

"If I hear correctly, I am no more awkward then your fumbled attempts at your lady wife in the night." She grinned evilly as she feinted high with her blade then committing hard with her shield at his chest.

Merrin moved back deftly and spun away from the shield blow. His head dipped as he crouched low and the edge of his sword smacked painfully against her shin. Trywen stumbled back and hopped for a moment trying to regain her composure.

"Clever quips will not win you a battle. Cutting words do little when you, yourself are cut down left and right. You already know how to steady your blade. Say your words." He said moving forward slowly.

"I am the Voice of Ruin" She said shifting to close the gap.

"His is the voice of victory." Mirrer responded.

"There is no light but triumph" She delivered broad sweep, high and to the helm. Deftly parried.

"There is no dark but defeat" He responded with a counter-thrust, low, at the belly. It clacked uselessly against Trywen's shield.

The air was cool and damp. Winter never hit the hidden realms hard, many of the young ones had never seen snow. Lately, though, it had been cool enough. The ground was soft and damp with dew, the sun could not breach the heavy foliage of this grove. The ground might be perilous, but as the words came out, her movements became more fluid. Her breathing was coming more freely.

"I am the sword and the shield." She said delivering high and low slashes. one stopped by sword, the other by shield. But the second, only barely.

"I am the lord and the thief." A high, strong stroke for her head, but Trywen moved under it easily.

"I am the sun and the moon." She grunted coming up with another hard stroke. He was prepared, stopping it hard with his shield. The foot, he was less ready for. She planted her boot squarely at his chest sending him tripping over his own feet. She growled and drove the advantage delivering a vicious blow to his helm, sending him to the ground.

"I am the breath of life and the kiss of death." She said breathing heavy. "Ruin guides me and my hand is truth. Victory is my name and I shall know it well."

"I yield." He said with a half-smile. "As I have done too often these days. It seems it might be time for me to hang up my training swords."

Trywen laughed. "Something you would never do."

"Well have at it girl, what is truth?"

"I say that Sir Mirrer's favorite food is kraut and honeyed-meed for the waning summer days. It is all he eats the week before the moon festival." She laughed at the face he made.

"A cruel truth!" He said with a sigh.

In the Ruined Knights, it was tradition that even in practice melees that one must yield before a battle can end. Their belief stated that the victor in any battle was blessed with the truth of gods. Therefore their claims were irrefutable in any altercation, from trials to land disputes, to arguments about the color of the sky. It was always asked by the loser, "What is truth?"

The victor would decide upon a truth as bold or shallow as they like and the defeated must remember it until the day the passed from this life. The only way to undo a truth was to be a victor of the man who had imparted the truth.

Masters would use it to teach their students. "It is truth that your overhead strikes are slow and you will work them for one hour every day for the next two moon cycles." Lords had used it to acquire lands or women though the battles were rarely done with blunted swords.

And of course, friends used it to torment each other. Sir Mirrer hated kraut and said that honeyed meed was the drink of little girls and suckling babes. Yet, from now on, each year he would eat naught but the two for the week before the Moon Festival. At least until Trywin yielded to him in combat and the truth could be undone.

She reached down and grasped Merrin's hand, pulling him to his feet. "The festival is only two weeks away." He grumbled," We must spar again soon."

She was about to respond, but a man emerged from nearby trees, silent and quick. His cloak shifted green and brown and black to better blend with the surrounding forest. A Shadow of Ruin.

"Lady Trywen, it is time for your ritual to begin." He said softly.

There was a long silence after that as the words drifted off on the wind.

"Well, it looks like kraut and meed for me…it might not be too bad." Mirrer said walking up and grabbing Trywen's shoulder with a bark of a laugh.

Trywen's grin was from ear to ear. Beginning the Rewen Ritual meant that her Tendraago would begin soon. She was to become a true Voice of Ruin.

The End

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