You voted, the results are in.
A quick note: Korhil, was a character created by one of the backers of the Fairytale Games Kickstarter. During that campaign, he earned the right to be written into a battle. This is that battle!
People scattered as a dark-haired man made his way through the crowd. The onlookers practically fell over themselves to make a path for him. Anyone who wasn't quick enough to get out of his way, was shoved roughly to the side, sending even more people falling, like a cruel sort of human dominoes. He grinned sadistically, as he surveyed the square and the ring of people surrounding it. His eyes lit up, as his gaze fell on Korhil.
“Hello again, archer.” He laughed, checking his leather gauntlets casually as he walked “It feels rather odd to see you standing, and not bleeding on the ground in front of me. A pity. We will have to rectify that soon, wouldn't you agree?”
Korhil glared at the Sheriff, his red eyes practically glowing with the intensity of his hatred. “You'll find me much more of a challenge when you're not attacking me from behind, Sheriff. I imagine you will not fare so well in an honest match.”
“You think you have a chance, boy?” The Sheriff drew his broadsword, and kissed the blade before gripping it in a strong two-handed grip and adopting an offensive stance. “This blade has been the end of better men than you. I've faced down the worst scum this land has to offer. You should just offer me your neck now, and make this quick.”
In the blink of an eye, Korhil's twin dao were in his hands as he launched himself at the cocky Sheriff. The Sheriff was caught off guard by Korhil's speed, and just barely managed to deflect one of the blades with his broadsword, while the other one dug itself deep into his side. He let out a howl of pain, and headbutted Korhil. Dazed, he staggered back a few steps, the lone dao still lodged deep in his side.
“It would appear I have underestimated you. Seems you do have some moves after all, archer.” The Sheriff spat on the ground, and grimaced. He gripped the hilt, of the dao and with a shout he pulled the it from his side. He turned it over in his hand, before tossing it dismissively to the ground. “But you must know, it will take more than speed to win this battle.”
"My name isn't archer. My name, is Korhil Osara-neth", He spoke slowly, as he switched his remaining dao to his other hand. He gritted his teeth, into a twisted semblance of a smile. "Remember it. Hades will want to know who left you whimpering at his gates."
Korhil again dashed forward, but the Sheriff was not about to be taken in by the same move twice. As Korhil brought his dao down, to make a killing blow, the Sheriff spun out of the way, and delivered a powerful roundhouse kick to the small of Korhil's back, sending him sprawling to the ground. The shock of the impact sent the other dao skittering across the square.
The Sheriff grinned and then winced as a fresh gush of blood spurted from the wound in his side. “I told you, it's going to take more than speed to kill me. You're a nothing, a nobody. You have no friends, no family.” He smiled, and gave his broadsword an elaborate twirl. “When this day is over, you'll be dead, and not a single soul will mourn your loss.”
With blood still gushing from his side, the Sheriff rushed in with a mighty swing. Korhil, managed to get his dao up in time to parry the blow, but the Sheriff used his momentum to drive a knee into Korhil's crotch, sending the thin man crumpling to the ground. The Sheriff turned, and with a sadistic laugh, he stomped on Korhil's wrist, eliciting a cry of pain. The sound of snapping bones filled the square, and the dao fell from his useless hand.
“You can't win this battle, Archer.” The Sheriff sneered as he continued grinding his heel into the shattered bones of Korhil's wrist. “Maybe if I hadn't snapped your strange bow, you would stand a chance. One on one, you're not even half the swordsman I am. And a scrawny thing like you could never hope to match my strength.” He leaned down, his face inches away from Korhil's. “Face it, whelp, this is how your life ends.”
Korhil pulled his head back, and lunged forward, the top of his head hitting the Sheriff's nose. The bone snapped, and blood poured freely from the Sheriff's freshly broken nose. He stumbled back, losing his grip on his sword as his hands went to his injured nose.
“I won't accept a loss.” Korhil's voice was calm, and measured. He held his shattered wrist against his chest, as he scooped up his dao with his other hand. He took a step toward the Sheriff, and placed a foot on the fallen sword. “I'll tear apart you, your Queens, this whole damnable realm. Whatever it takes to get me back home.”
The Sheriff glared at the archer, his hands still clutched to his broken nose. He glanced around, his eyes darting to and fro before landing on the broadsword underneath Korhil's foot. His eyes briefly twinkled as he schemed. “But...Will your honor allow you to strike down an unarmed man? Seems a little cowardly, wouldn't you agree?”
Korhil paused, and glanced down at the sword. He seemed to fight an internal struggle as he pondered whether or not to return the weapon to his disarmed foe. He finally let out a low growl before kicking the sword over to the Sheriff. “You may lack even the concept of honor, but I will not forsake my own just to end your miserable existence.” He tightened his grip on his dao, and assumed a battle stance. “Grab your blade and face me. This ends now.”
The Sheriff reached down, and grabbed his blade with a low chuckle. “You're either dumber than I thought, or your honor has blinded you. Either way,” He gripped his sword in a firm two-handed grip, “Prepare yourself.”
Korhil rushed in with a furious assault, his single dao slashing at the Sheriff in a constant barrage. It took everything he had for the Sheriff to turn aside the majority of blows. He found himself rather pleased that his opponent was down to a single sword, or he might have been in serious trouble. Even so, despite his best efforts several blows managed to cut into the Sheriff's arm, mixing more blood into the dirt of the square. Korhil was relentless, driving the Sheriff back further and further, until the stage that Sir Frank still stood on was digging into his back.
“Mercy!” He cried out, the blood loss, combined with his precarious position leaving him with little choice. “Mercy I beg of you!”
Korhil placed the edge of his dao against the Sheriff's neck and glared at him, his eyes shining a baleful red. “One of us dies today, there is no mercy. Accept your death like a man...”
The Sheriff dropped his sword, and grinned as he clapped Korhil hard on the ears. “You really are daft, aren't you?” He kicked Korhil in the side with a strong roundhouse to punctuate his statement, and drive the dazed archer away. “You said it yourself. One of us dies today. Mercy is a luxury for the weak.” He jumped and delivered a front snap kick to Korhil's chin, and sent him down into the bloody muck. “When the Queens have a tournament, it is kill or be killed, you scrawny bastard.”
Korhil staggered, spat out a tooth accompanied by a large amount of bloody froth. “I have given you every opportunity to comport yourself with honor and dignity.” He glared at the grinning Sheriff. “I do not know why I would expect honor from one such as yourself. It's like fighting with Gungnir all over again... Honor means nothing to you.”
He adjusted his grip on his blade, and attempted to wipe the blood from his lips with the back of one dust-covered gauntlet, “Despite all that, I will not dishonor myself. I will not lower myself to your level. I will win with honor, or die with it... But I will not hold myself back.”
He rushed forward, catching the Sheriff by surprise, his dao biting deep into the Sheriff's forearm. The Sheriff attempted another roundhouse, but Korhil managed to dodge out of the way, his blade drawing a long line across the Sheriff's thigh as he went. In desperation, the Sheriff jumped, using the stage behind him for support, to deliver a strong double kick to the middle of Korhil's chest, driving him back again. Bruised and disoriented, Korhil fell to his knees.
The Sheriff relaxed a bit, resting against the stage, as he caught his breath. He patted his side, and looked at the coagulated mess that came away on his gloves. Blood loss was becoming a problem. If he didn't end this soon, the blood loss would be enough to grant his opponent an easy win.
While the Sheriff wasted his time checking his various wounds, Korhil began muttering to himself. He spoke low and measured, words barely audible. As he spoke, a dull green glow, began to wrap itself around Korhil's hands, drawing the Sheriff's attention away from the gushing wounds.
“What are you doing, archer?” He scooped up his sword, as he advanced cautiously. “Since when did you have magic?”
The glow continued to coil itself around Korhil's shattered hand, intensifying. The twisted remains of his broken fingers slowly uncurled, and the limp useless wrist straightened itself out. Korhil looked up with a grim expression, and flexed the previously useless hand. He spoke, his voice barely a whisper. “Path of Healing... It's a wonderful thing.” He made an almost dismissive gesture, and the second dao came flying to his restored hand.
The Sheriff tightened his grip on the broadsword, and glared at his foe. Sweat drenched him, causing the dust in the air to cake up on his face and in his hair. He approached, realizing more than ever that stalling was not going to work. He swung his sword with all his might, and the blow was deflected by the two dao. He used the distraction to deliver a powerful kick to Korhil's knee, snapping the leg at an unnatural angle.
Korhil let loose with a howl of pain, as he crumpled to the ground, and the Sheriff pressed his advantage. With speed that seemed out of place coming from the large man, the Sheriff delivered a mighty stomp to the other knee, shattering it as well. Korhil swung wildly with his twin dao, but the Sheriff managed to deflect the flailing blades with ease.
“So you can heal yourself?” He twirled his broadsword and slammed it down into Korhil's calf below the broken knee, with a howl of rage.
“It doesn't matter! You're magic is meaningless, if I break more bones than you can heal, wouldn't you say?” The Sheriff punctuated his question by delivering a devastating kick to Korhil's chest, the sound of cracking ribs, and a shattering sternum rang throughout the hushed square. Several onlookers turned away, unwilling to bear witness to the Sheriff's cruelty. “You fought well, I'll give you that, but you can never defeat me.”
Korhil scooted back as much as he could, dropping one of his dao as he raised his hand. With a flourish of the wrist, a grimace of pain twisting his features, he managed to shout, “Destruction 30.... RED LIGHTNING!”
A bright flash of red light erupted from his outstretched palm, temporarily blinding anyone who looked directly at it. The light shot out, engulfing the Sheriff in flame, and sending crackles of electricity up and down his sword. He screamed in pain and confusion as his hair burst into flame, and his armor melted to his body. The awful smell of burning flesh filled the square. He flailed around, trying to beat the flames down. The heat and the electricity conspired together, and with an audible pop, the Sheriff's right eye burst, sending boiling jelly running down his cheek as he collapsed to the ground motionless.
Korhil coughed, and fell back on the muddy morass. Breathing heavily, he placed his hand against his chest, whispered softly, and let the green glow spread across his ribcage. He winced a bit, as the bones knitted themselves back together. After just a few seconds, his breathing came easier.
With a grunt, he sat up, and placed his hands on one of his knees. He whispered softly, but nothing happened. He growled as he looked over to the still smoldering form of the Sheriff. “I suppose I used too much energy.” He looked down at the useless legs, “I'll survive though. I just need to make sure that you won't.”
He rolled onto his side, and dragged himself through the blood and mud, his hands digging deep into the muck as he used his arms to propel him along. He ignored the pain in his legs, determination driving him forward. The smell of burning flesh, and singed leather grew stronger, until it was almost overpowering. He glared down at the charred husk of his foe, barely recognizable. Gritting his teeth as he tried to maneuver himself into a better position, Korhil flicked his wrist out, and summoned one of his discarded dao.
“Now... I end this.” He raised the dao high.
He saw the rustle of a fox tail from the corner of his eye, reminding him of the one kind face he had met in this cruel land. A soft whisper on the wind tried to draw his attention, but he remained focused. As his dao came down, time seemed to slow down, his arm felt like it was pushing through a syrupy fluid. With a flash of blinding white light, time stopped.
The world shifted, everything felt out of place. He blinked his eyes, afterimages of the brightness flashing with each blink. As his vision returned, he was shocked to see himself propped up over the Sheriff, the dao inches from the Sheriff's heart. He also noticed the extraordinarily sad smile on his face.
He reached out to his doppelganger, but was unable to move. He felt like he was being pulled away, the Sheriff and the doppelganger seeming to get further and further away. “Wait... What's happening? Who are you?”
The voice from the doppelganger was soft, and distinctly feminine. There was a deep melancholy in her words, her voice bursting with barely restrained tears. “This... is not how your story ends...”
The doppelganger snapped his fingers, and time resumed. A burst of cherry blossoms appeared out of nowhere, and when the cloud of sakura dissipated, Korhil suddenly found himself alone in a cave. A mirror on the cave wall looked out on the battle, and he watched helpless as the Sheriff reached behind his back, and with lightning speed drove the dagger into the doppelganger's ribs. The Sheriff laughed, as he sat up, twisting the dagger as he pushed the doppelganger back.
He felt as if he had been stabbed himself, as he watched his doppelganger bleed out, that same sad smile spread out on it's face. Once more, he thought he saw the briefest flash of a fox's tail before the images in the mirror began to fade away.
Korhil watched as the mirror changed back to a simple mirror, and wept. “You didn't have to do that, Kitsune... I was prepared to die.”
He gritted his teeth and waited. His magic would recharge, his legs would heal. Then he can resume his search for a portal out of this world. His partner's killer still roamed free, and justice would be served.
But first, he had to get revenge on the man who killed the only good soul in this land...
WINNER: THE SHERIFF OF NOTTINGHAM! ...For now.
Sheriff: 28 Votes. Korhil: 17 Votes.
Yeah... I broke one of the rules of the contest in the first battle! Because, I swore going into this that Korhil was going to survive the tournament... Personal decision. I always had this escape plan prepared (even made sure to verify that Kitsune had shapeshifting abilities with Alex). As a powerful magic user, she was able to shield her actions from the crowd, and all the Queens felt was a brief surge of magical energy, that could have easily been a last ditch effort by Korhil... This is why Kitsune waited until the last possible moment to make the switch.
Now.... Shall we begin the voting on the next chapter?