Chapter XVIII: The Champion of Castia (5/7)Mature

Throughout the hour, whilst some pairs had managed to fit in three duels, Tayna and Marinia remained on their first. Spectators watched in awe, even Conway stood with his arms crossed, tapping his fingers rhythmically to each foot and sword movement.

Their foils locked together at a stalemate, both fighting but failing to break free of the lock. The expressions of determination on their faces showed that this was no mere lesson to them, it was payback for what had been done in the past. Will looked at the countenances of those around him, they watched mesmerised, was it even more exciting to them that they were two princesses? Was it even appropriate that they were fighting, wouldn't it spoil the illusion that the Elementals were a united faction?

Will's attention returned to the fight, despite her low tone, he heard Marinia and Tayna speaking, taunting and threatening each other.

'Aren't you getting tired, Tayna?' asked Marinia, grinning as though victorious. A bead of sweat trickled from her forehead, skimming the edge of her eyebrow onto the cheek. She flicked her head to get rid of it, like it was a fly landing on her, crawling across her skin.

Tayna smirked, 'you wish.' In a quick motion, she broke the cross-section of their foils. They broke apart and backed away, taking a starting stance as if they were going back to the beginning. Then, in a movement Tayna didn't expect, Marinia dropped her foil, she tossed it away dismissively and wiped the drop of sweat from her cheek.

Then she ran at Tayna, through her surprising strength and the shock of the blow, Tayna fell, Marinia knelt over her.

'You're not going to beat me, not like this,' Marinia hissed, 'I'm better than you, in every way, yet still you manage to show me up. Not anymore.'

'If you keep thinking like that,' Tayna panted, asphyxiated by the pressure of Marinia's knee on her stomach, 'that's how you'll always lose.' 

Catching her off guard, Tayna threw her to the side, propelled by her Air magick to her feet, grabbing her foil and pointing it at Marinia's neck. When she tried to sit up, she was threatened with the poisoned sword tip, keeping her pegged to the floor.  

'See? You always lose, Marinia.'  Tayna didn't gloat, she didn't need to. Instead she veered down at Marinia with a serenity untarnished by Marinia's negligible threat.  Some of the Draíochta applauded, those that didn't had to at least acknowledge how spectacular the duel had been.  

But just as Tayna was about to withdraw, everybody in the room flinched with a terrible feeling in their stomachs. Will looked and saw Marinia glaring at Tayna with so much hate that her eyes shone.

Then Will realised, magick, Marinia's using magick. But how, what can Spirit do? 

'Not this time,' Marinia hissed, she lunged forward off of the ground and grabbed Tayna's wrist. Tayna let out a gasp of agony, her knees buckling and falling to the floor. 'Your spirit reveals your secrets.' The voice didn't seem like Marinia's at all, it was like somebody else's, somebody powerful, somebody bad.     

'What - is - this?' Tayna asked through heavy breaths, she pressed one hand to her temple whilst Marinia refused to release her other arm. Her teeth were gritted with pain.

'These are your secrets, they're mine now, champion of Castia.'

The End

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