The Cursed LandMature

Talas's movements felt strained and heavy. She couldn't be sure if it was her chain mail, or shock freezing her nerves.

How had this moment come so quickly?

She had prepared for the past three years. Now that time spent training seemed short and insignificant.

Her horse took her to the grounds outside of The Noman's Land. The journey had taken an hour at best. No sane man would willingly find himself on this Strip. The trees wilted away and the grass was dead as well. Neither the laws of man nor the laws of nature applied here. So naturally there was not a creature in sight.The land was cursed, thus providing a great barrier between the Kingdoms. Anything or anyone who stood on the land for much longer than an hour's time would be swallowed whole by the ground. The battle had to be a quick one lest, Jace and Talas would perish before they got to one another. Talas would prefer a quick death by sword than to be eaten by the cursed land itself. Yet because it was the word of a prophet nobody could question the setting in which this was to take place.

Talas dismounted her mare and crossed a wide bridge over the river to Noman's Land. This would be a close combat battle. Her hand coiled around her francisca; a throwing ax with an exceedingly shard iron head. She waited for Jace to appear. The timing was right, the sun had just began to peak. Talas stared cautiously at the land below her feet. She had only been there minutes, she was sure, but then again sometimes minutes felt like hours and hours felt like minutes.

Talas drew her attention back towards the dried and cracked earth, through the dead and spindly forest. She saw him. An armor clad figure, with his Zweihander raised and ready for battle. The sword was a two handed one. It was a risky move in a close combat battle as it would prevent him from carrying a shield.

“Awfully confident Ashby,” Talas growled under her breath.

                                                                         ****

Jace had the disadvantage of approaching the Cursed Land from the deathly forest. It wasn't until he cleared the dead trees that he could study Talas's weapons of choice. “A damn battle ax,” he muttered.

She was planning on weakening his defenses before attacking him. Jace could feel the blood drain from his face as Talas raised her shield. Sheathed on Talas's hip was a broadsword and an impressive array of knives and daggers.

She really wanted him dead.

Jace marched into the clearing.

This really was what the fates had in store for him.

The prophecy had never quite made the connection between Jace's heart and his head. He had an advantage over her though. He was much faster and didn't have the arsenal of weapons on his body, that Talas did.

Go, he commanded himself.

Move, he screamed at his feet.

Then he was moving slowly at first, then mustering an once of bravado, he quickened his pace. His speed increased until he could make out Tala's eyes, until he could see his fear reflected back at him through her expanding irises.

“Well! Come at me!” Jace yelled, cutting through the fog of tension.

Talas winced at the sound of shattered silence. Her arm trembled as she raised the francisca over her head. She threw it with alarming accuracy. It spun through the air with such grace and intention, that even Jace had to admire the ax in midair before it could strike him.

Instinctively, Jace threw himself backwards and landed on his hands with his legs sprawled before him. A split second later the ax lodged itself in the ground between Jace's legs. Jace glanced down at the ax and than back at Talas, who seemed a bit shocked herself. If the ax had gotten any closer … Jace brushed the terrifying thought aside.

With a growing motive he dropped his sword and picked up the francisca. With full force he charged at Talas. In that instant two things happened. The ground began to shake, and the wind's velocity took a turn for the worse. Branches of dead trees began to swirl in an unholy dance. This was it, Jace thought as he was inches away from the Princess of Thor, this was how it would end...

The End

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