Meryl and Federico left a few minutes ago, and you have been discussing Treece Alonso and his desire for a duel with Rikard. Suddenly, Bart rises, looking alarmed. “Little Mother needs me. I’ll return as soon as I can.” Then he rushes out the door. But still, it is cool in here and the refreshments quite tasty.
Casdegere Constantine fixes himself a plate and begins to eat.
Rikard Castleberry: Huh, well, when you gotta go, you gotta go, I suppose.
Rikard Castleberry: So, that pretty well sums up the situation at hand, then.
Mistress Bianca: Understandable. I am not hungry; I have just finished lunch with Lady Salmissra.
Casdegere Constantine: I have never met her…what is she like?
Casdegere Constantine he says between bites.
Mistress Bianca: She is a young girl with a lot of responsibility. She deals with it well.
Casdegere Constantine: She is young?...How young?
Mistress Bianca: Early twenties I suppose, about my age.
Mistress Bianca: Actually if she was not in her position, and I were not so afflicted, I think she and I would be quite similar.
Rikard Castleberry: Like sisters from another father sort of thing?
Mistress Bianca: Not exactly.
Mistress Bianca: So Mister Castleberry, have you decided then how you will deal with this threat to your living status?
Rikard Castleberry: Well, I think we need to find out just how serious he takes this, be it a matter of simple honor, or one that can only be solved by death.
Casdegere Constantine: Rikard, I believe the man has made himself quite clear.
Rikard Castleberry: More than likely, but I was not exactly in the best of states at the time. I do believe he was trying to bully me a bit.
Casdegere Constantine: And we hardly possess the means to dissuade him with gold.
Rikard Castleberry: Best to give him 1 final attempt to solve it in a more civilized manner. Not all duels have to end in death, some are just to blood, or first hit.
Casdegere Constantine: Only if there is concession usually but I doubt he has come all of this way for you to say…”uncle.”
Casdegere Constantine: and then end the duel
Mistress Bianca: Undoubtedly.
Mistress Bianca leans back in her chair sighing.
Rikard Castleberry: True, but then, there are some forms that have to be followed in “formal” duels.
Casdegere Constantine: And I am well versed in many of them. For honor is very important to my people.
Mistress Bianca: Men. hmpf. Live a life of honor and die young and pretty.
Rikard Castleberry: Then you can understand how I wish to make sure, absolutely sure.
Casdegere Constantine: Well at some point, he will be required to make an official announcement.
You hear a knock upon the door.
Casdegere Constantine: So I doubt you will be waiting long.
Mistress Bianca: Come in
. Rikard Castleberry blinks.
Federico pushes open the door and steps in. “Master Constantine, I wishes one more word about your sword.”
Rikard Castleberry: Oh it’s Freddy, Hi there.
Casdegere Constantine nods and stands up from the table.
Casdegere Constantine: Certainly Mr. Federico.
Casdegere Constantine presents the blade once again to him.
Federico puts up a hand. “No, no, I don’t need to see it again. I just wanted to stress how unusual this weapon is. I’m sure we don’t even know all that it is capable of. Please guard it well. There are many in the swamp who would covet this sword.”
Casdegere Constantine: Hmm, perhaps I shall keep it here at the guild under proper lock and key.
Mistress Bianca: Great, now Mister Constantine will be the target of even more thugs trying to steal his stuff.
Rikard Castleberry: I like thugs. You can beat them up and not feel bad.
Casdegere Constantine: Which is very strange since I have so little.
Federico smiles. “I’m sure Meryl would not tolerate thieves.”
Mistress Bianca: You are a thug Mister Castleberry.
Mistress Bianca smiles behind her mask.
Federico: Even the Jade Leaf would not look down on such swift justice.
Rikard Castleberry: I’m only a part time thug thank you very much, in between the times I am unconscious.
Casdegere Constantine chuckles.
Casdegere Constantine: Well perhaps the jade leaf will begin to pay us bounties for any poachers we bring in.
Federico: You will find them grateful should you do that.
Federico steps back out the door. “Well, I must attend to other duties. Good day.”
Casdegere Constantine waves.
Mistress Bianca: Wait, Federico, later I wish to speak to you.
Federico: Yes mistress.
Mistress Bianca nods goodbye.
Mistress Bianca: So now Mister Castleberry not only does someone want to kill you, but people will want to kill Mister Constantine as well.
Mistress Bianca: I feel so left out.
Rikard Castleberry: If you like I can pay a boy to threaten you.
Mistress Bianca: I would appreciate that.
Rikard Castleberry: Sure, the least I can do. Well, I predict that I have about 2 days before I am completely healed up and Treece will want to fight; maybe a tad more or less, depending if I stay out of trouble.
Casdegere Constantine: Well, as your first, I could approach this Mr. Alonso and demand him to speak his terms officially.
Mistress Bianca snickers.
Mistress Bianca: First?
Rikard Castleberry rolls his eyes at Bianca.
Mistress Bianca: You are bringing out of town concepts to this backwater keep.
Casdegere Constantine: Yes, if a declaration of honor has been accepted, if anything should happen to Rikard I would take his place…ofcourse. And also I would act as a mediator on Rikard’s behalf.
Mistress Bianca: Well that settles it then you are all insane.
Rikard Castleberry: If you would, ask him if it must be to the death, I honestly would prefer it not to be, and not just for my own sake. But then all that is left is 2 details, yes? Weapons and location? And yes, I am quite insane. I have been hit on the head a lot lately.
Casdegere Constantine: Exactly since he has come to you, you will be able to choose either location or the weapons. My father dueled a man once. He was equally skilled in most of the weapons that the man knew how to wield so my father opted for location.
Rikard Castleberry: I think it would be best to choose weapons, so he can’t use that rapier of his.
Mistress Bianca: You can fight him underground.
Rikard Castleberry: What would that do for me?
Mistress Bianca: I think he would have a hard time figuring out how to meet his honor that way, while I can make you able to enjoy the trip.
Casdegere Constantine: Mistress, it must be a fair fight in all respects or he may consider Rikard a coward and summarily take his life.
Rikard Castleberry: Here is my thought. Please talk to him, see if it must be to the death, if so, let him know I will choose weapons, and he can pick the location. I shouldn’t have to choose it just yet.
Casdegere Constantine: But we are not there yet, first ofcourse I shall apologize officially to him. If he accepts, then you may make some point of compensation and then it is done. If not and he calls you a liar, then I will stand up for your character.
Rikard Castleberry: Just don’t um, get too carried away.
Casdegere Constantine: If he still does not accept, then it will come down to terms. He will name his terms clearly.
Mistress Bianca pulls out her book The Black Adder and begins to read.
Rikard Castleberry: Ok. I will stay here then, until you talk with him. He should be at the Sheltering Frond.
Casdegere Constantine: Though there was once when my father accepted the right to caning. Well, I guess ill find out. Alright, I’ll go see him, I wish you luck sir.
Casdegere Constantine waves to Rikard as he leaves.
Rikard Castleberry: Take care.
Mistress Bianca turns a page.
Rikard Castleberry: How’s that book?
Mistress Bianca: A lot more interesting then that conversation. You two really do sound silly.
Rikard Castleberry: Ah one day, when someone wants to kill you, you will understand.
Casdegere Constantine heads to the Frond, sword at his side.
Rikard Castleberry grins.
Rikard Castleberry finally notices the food and digs in.
Casdegere leaves the Guild Compound and heads to the main road. He turns north toward the center of town. The Sheltering Frond is a fashionable inn overlooking a small pond. Although not blessed with magical coolness, the dark interior offers a cool respite from the heat. Casdegere sees Treece sitting at a table, leaning back in a chair, cool drink sweating on the table.
Casdegere Constantine steps up to Treece and bows.
. Casdegere Constantine: Mr. Alonso, I come to you in good faith as Mr. Castleberry’s First.
Treece Alonso finishes off a drink while waving for a server.
Treece Alonso stops waving for a server at the word First.
Treece Alonso: Well. So, we are getting down to it then. Rikard is on the mend?
The waiter backs up.
Casdegere Constantine: Mr. Castleberry would like to know your intentions.
. Treece Alonso lifts a hand and strokes two fingers across the left side of his mouth for a moment.
Treece Alonso: My intentions are to offer Rikard the chance to redeem himself as a man before the dogs are loosed and he is hanged. I am commissioned to arrange a duel with Rikard. Should he win, he has the word of my employer that the matter is settled. Should he lose…the matter will also be settled.
Casdegere Constantine: My lord, since there is no real proof of a crime, any man or woman who would take Mr. Castleberry’s life under such a pretense would be in violation of the laws of Kith’takharos…I speak of the point you made of honor.
Treece Alonso: Yes, this backwater is somewhat prickly about that.
Treece Alonso: Yet, news has arrived to what’s his name at the Emerald Leaf? Dolian or some such? Anyway, he has all the proofs he asked for. Rikard is a wanted man and I am here to settle up.
Casdegere Constantine: Sir, you are sounding more like a bounty hunter and less like a man of honor.
Casdegere Constantine steps in close to him
. Casdegere Constantine speaks in a whisper.
Treece Alonso hand drops towards his weapon and he stands with alacrity.
Cylene: Footsteps sound from the rear, and a beautiful elf woman steps out of the dimness.
Casdegere Constantine: If your here to collect on some bounty for some overstuffed general who has neither the proof of the crime or the courage to come here himself then understand that you will have to get through me if you intend on taking Rikard.
Cylene: Gentlemen, there will be no violence in my establishment.
Treece Alonso’s mouth draws tight at Casdegere’s accusation.
Casdegere Constantine: I assumed you were here for honors sake, not to fill your purse with another mans gold.
Treece Alonso: That is twice you’ve sullied my honor. I’ve been perfectly clear on my intentions. Mind your next words well.
Cylene raises her voice, “Remove your hands from your blades.”
Casdegere Constantine: Then speak your intentions sir.
Casdegere Constantine moves his hand off a little.
Treece Alonso: That tears it. I am compelled to go out with you and settle up for your lack of wisdom. As a first you are a complete failure. What First would approach the challenger and speak thus?
Cylene: If you must fight, there’s plenty of room outside.
Treece Alonso keeps his hand right where it is.
Casdegere Constantine: Then speak clearly your intentions.
Cylene turns toward the rear of the room and gives a nod. “So be it.” Then she walks away.
Treece Alonso: Everyone here has heard your words. Do you accept my challenge or leave the coward?
The few patrons are very quiet, and obviously listening.
Casdegere Constantine nods to Treece, turns and heads outside.
Treece Alonso: We’ll need witnesses to this gentlemen. Here are a few coins to oblige your time spent.
Treece Alonso tosses a handful of silver on his table and follows Casdegere out.
Two men shrug, pick up the coins, and head outside with Treece. There is a clear area immediately south of the building, somewhat screened from the main road.
Treece Alonso walks towards the clearing.
Treece Alonso: Since it is I who’ve challenged you’ve the right to decide what level of satisfaction is sufficient.
Casdegere Constantine: First blood should be sufficient.
Casdegere Constantine: Should you survive, ill give you full quarter sir.
Treece Alonso: First blood it shall be. And if you should prevail, what would you ask me?
Some clouds are gathering in the west, perhaps they will bring an afternoon rain.
Casdegere Constantine: I require nothing from you.
From between two buildings, both Treece and Casdegere see Xanthus Bome and a handful of Jade Leaf men ‘loitering’ near the road. They don’t look likely to interfere.
Treece Alonso: Very well. My requirement is simple. You will apologize to me and offer me your sword.
Casdegere Constantine as he turns he puts his ring in the slot in the sword.
Treece Alonso: Are we agreed in terms then?
Casdegere Constantine: I will not give up my blade sir, my slight is hardly worth it. An apology should be sufficient.
Treece Alonso: Since I insist it is the right level of justice for your insult I refuse your terms. Shall we elevate the stakes to death so honor may be met?
Casdegere Constantine: So then you rescind your call of honor upon Rikard?
Treece Alonso: cooly replies, “What in the name of all that is light does that have to do with this now?”
Casdegere Constantine: I am his first, if you duel me now, his honor will be called forward if I fall or stand against you in a duel to the death.
Casdegere Constantine: Do you accept?
Treece Alonso: No, I do not revoke the challenge to Rikard. I see that as a separate issue. You insulted me as yourself. You may not now cling to some honor to which you do not deserve.
Treece Alonso: If I were Rikard I’d be embarrassed to have relied upon you as a First.
Casdegere Constantine: You are challenging me, his first to a duel to the death.
Treece Alonso: No.
Casdegere Constantine: I believe you have been embarrassed before.
Treece Alonso: I am responding to your personal insults. Do not confuse the matter.
Casdegere Constantine: The confusion is yours, and your interpretation of the insult is overbearing.
Casdegere Constantine: If you wish to continue this to the death it will be to call Rikard’s honor forward.
Treece Alonso: Then call for him to watch you die. I’ll not have it said the challenged did not have a seat at his own fight.
Casdegere Constantine: Very well.
Treece Alonso: Not you sir, You there.
Treece Alonso says to one of the witnesses.
Casdegere Constantine points to one of the witnesses.
Treece Alonso: Please go get Rikard and explain what is taking place.
The man points to himself. “Me?”
Treece Alonso: Yes you.
Treece Alonso flips the man a gold.
The man snags it from the air.
Treece Alonso takes out his dagger and rapier, moving them about to loosen his muscles.
Casdegere Constantine: Hmm, do I detect, Florentine?
Treece Alonso: I’d like to say I am enjoying this. But, I’d be lying. Remember it is you who saved Rikard from his fate this day as your blood runs into the grass and your vision fades.
Casdegere Constantine: Save your words sir, they do not hold sway here.
Casdegere Constantine holds up his sword and depresses the ring into the notch on the blade.
Treece Alonso says no more, instead focusing himself on the work ahead.
Casdegere Constantine recites the runes upon the blade.
Casdegere Constantine: Jade Leaf, you there!
Casdegere Constantine motions to the man.
Xanthus Bome nods to his man, and the fellow heads over to give Casdegere a shield. Another of the Jade Leaf men detaches to head down the road.
Casdegere Constantine tests the shield in his hand.
Soon, Rikard and Bianca are interrupted by a man who claims Casdegere is about to fight a duel to the death over Rikard, at the Sheltering Frond.
Rikard Castleberry: Oh what in the…
Casdegere Constantine stretches and spins his large blade around to loosen up his shoulder.
Rikard Castleberry: It’s been 10 minutes!
As the minutes pass, more people gather at the periphery of the clearing. A crowd cannot be avoided.
Rikard Castleberry sighs as he grabs his spear, and walks out the door.
Mistress Bianca is still reading her book. Upset at the interruption puts it down.
Casdegere, after about 5 minutes, you see Rikard and Bianca arrive.
Rikard Castleberry: I think you would want to come with Miss Bianca, this is probably gonna end bad for someone.
Mistress Bianca: No doubt he has won Treece over with his award winning charm and tact.
The crowd parts and Dorian Orsova steps in, looking unhappy.
Mistress Bianca marks the book before stuffing it into her bag and grabbing her staff rushes out the room.
Dorian Orsova (Half-Elf): What’s this?
Casdegere Constantine: Hello Dorian.
Treece Alonso bows with respect from the shoulders down towards Dorian.
Casdegere Constantine: A…small dispute of honor.
Dorian Orsova (Half-Elf): I thought Treece was here for Rikard.
Casdegere Constantine: He is.
Treece Alonso: And your lordship, I am.
Treece Alonso: However, this man has taken it upon himself to insult me and claim the right of Rikard’s First.
Dorian Orsova (Half-Elf): As much as I wish it were different, he has a right to seek justice from Rikard. Well, if Casdegere should agree…then there’s nothing for me to do.
Casdegere Constantine: This man is little more then a bounty hunter, there would be no honor served in Rikard’s death.
Dorian Orsova (Half-Elf) turns to Casdegere. “You agree to this fight?”
Treece Alonso: The terms are clear. One of will be walking away from this duel. The winner is entitled to the personal effects of the vanquished.
Casdegere Constantine: I do.
Rikard Castleberry raises an eyebrow at Bianca.
Rikard Castleberry: How does he do this?
Mistress Bianca: He is an idiot.
Treece Alonso: Should I win, I accept that Casdegere’s death placate his lordship General Oakley in regards to Rikard.
Mistress Bianca (mockingly): Oooo, but an honorable one!
Treece Alonso: Should I lose, well, I suspect the matter is closed.
Dorian Orsova (Half-Elf) shakes his head. “By God above, all the other dangers surrounding us are not enough, are they. First the men at the tower, now this.” He turns and walks to the edge of the clearing.
Treece Alonso smiles deprecatingly.
Casdegere Constantine: If I should live or die, Rikard’s honor shall be laid clean and pure in the eyes of your lordship and to everyone in witness here today.
Dorian Orsova (Half-Elf) then sees Rikard and walks over to him.
Treece Alonso scrapes his blades together as if sharpening.
Treece Alonso: Yes, Rikard will be pure as the driven bloody snow. It is you who should be worried about yourself. I am ready.
Dorian Orsova (Half-Elf): If you’re alive in an hour, come talk to me.
Casdegere Constantine nods.
Rikard Castleberry (quietly): Hi there Dorian.
Casdegere Constantine looks over at Rikard and winks.
Rikard Castleberry salutes Casdegere.
Mistress Bianca leans over to Rikard whispering. “Looks like a win-win situation for us though.
Rikard Castleberry (to Dorian): Why wouldn’t I be alive in an hour? This has seemed to fallen completely out of my hands.
Casdegere Constantine steps up a few steps and adjusts his shield straps once more
. Casdegere Constantine readies his sword and waits.
Treece Alonso moves carefully forward, both blades moving in preparation.
Treece Alonso continues moving forward slowly, sidestepping occasionally.
Casdegere Constantine moves quickly to Treeces left and strikes across his body toward him.
As Casdegere nears Treece, the other man strikes! Casdegere moves more quickly than Treece thought he could, but the blow barely strikes home. But the weak blow does no harm.
Mistress Bianca stands there in the front of the crowd and pulls out her book and reads while leaning on her staff.
Casdegere Constantine tried to thrust across his body but the quick strike from Treece forced him off balance.
Treece Alonso flicks the slash away with his dagger while preparing to lunge again with rapier.
Casdegere Constantine slides to his right and swings high toward Treece’s head.
It is obvious to all that Treece is a match for Casdegere.
Treece Alonso parries the heavy blow that takes everything Treece has to fend off.
Treece Alonso Stabs out to the left and shoulder with rapier while slashing at the lower right thigh simultaneously.
From the rapier, Casdegere takes 1 wound. He takes another wound from the dagger.
Treece Alonso steps back allowing time for Casdegere to compose.
Casdegere Constantine flurries his blade and steps forward.
Treece Alonso moves as soon he steps up, the rapier jabs out and Treece is once again in motion.
Casdegere is Shaken. The onlookers are quiet, seeing one of their heroes getting the worst of this duel.
Treece Alonso moves away casually, relaxed like a cat ready to strike.
Dorian Orsova (Half-Elf) turns to Rikard. “Casdegere is in big trouble.
Treece Alonso waits for full recovery.
Rikard Castleberry (to Dorian): I’ve personally pulled out of worse before, we should wait and see. Besides, there isn’t anything to do at this point.
Casdegere Constantine holds.
Mistress Bianca turns another page in her book. “I have seen a swamp dragon toy with its food. Unfortunately for that swamp dragon, I was its food.”
Casdegere Constantine: It appears your follow through needs some work Treece
Casdegere Constantine chuckles and gestures to Treece with his blade in a mocking manner.
Treece Alonso shakes with irritation.
Treece Alonso charges in wildly looking to put the rabid man down.
Two hits, second is a raise.
Casdegere Constantine thrusts desperately at Treece’s heart but misses badly.
. Rikard Castleberry facepalms.
Treece Alonso shoves the blades aside without mirth or anger, he is composed again.
Mistress Bianca glances up from her book just in time to see the whiff. “oh dear.”
Rikard Castleberry: Indeed.
. Treece Alonso mechanically continues to probe his opponent, taking advantage of every opening.
Treece Alonso quickly disengages leaving an opening.
Rikard Castleberry leans over to Bianca.
Rikard Castleberry (whispers): We should have sold tickets.
Casdegere Constantine swings quickly seeing the opening.
Treece Alonso At the last moment he drops to the ground and bounces back up trying to orient himself again.
Mistress Bianca: Impressive…
Rikard Castleberry: Most Impressive.
Casdegere Constantine flurries and steps quickly forward pressing Treece with whatever he has left.
Casdegere Constantine watches as if in slow motion, Treece just slides past his strike.
Casdegere Constantine continues forward and jabs at Treece’s midsection.
Treece Alonso barely keeps the press off.
Treece Alonso seems to get his full footing back.
Treece Alonso Eyes roll left and down, blades go up and right.
Second hit with a raise. Casdegere is Shaken.
Treece Alonso walks away waiting for Casdegere to recover.
Treece Alonso comes in full strength blades a whirr’.
Casdegere Constantine drives both attacks to the side with his shield and comes in with a thrust.
Treece Alonso uses benny to recover.
Treece Alonso Swings with all the precision he can muster looking to dip deeply into flesh.
Treece Alonso continues to poke and probe.
The second attacks wounds Casdegere. Shaken too.
Treece Alonso steps back.
Casdegere Constantine staggers.
Treece Alonso waits patiently.
Treece Alonso frowns at the advance.
Casdegere Constantine continues to stagger, looking half dazed
Treece Alonso steps back yet again allowing Casdegere to recover.
Rikard Castleberry looks strangely at Bianca, puzzled.
Mistress Bianca shakes her head as she continues reading.
Casdegere Constantine steps forward and looks to have gotten his footing.
Treece Alonso advances for the finish.
Casdegere collapses to the ground.
Treece Alonso steps back to let nature take its course.
With a sudden loud, rattling breathe, Casdegere expires.
Treece Alonso walks over to Casdegere and relieves him of his sword. Then turns to Rikard.
Treece Alonso: Your debt is settled, Rikard. I will convey this encounter and the status of your situation to General Oakley.
Treece Alonso: Unless of course you’d like to duel for Casdegere’s effects?
Dorian Orsova (Half-Elf) steps forward and speaks to Treece loudly. “Your business here is done, sir. I’ll expect you’ll leave no later than the morning.”
Treece Alonso nods to Dorian in acknowledgement.
Mistress Bianca: I will never understand this. I am glad for that.
Treece Alonso: Then my business is concluded.
Treece Alonso walks away towards the docks.
Rikard Castleberry follows Treece, intent on not letting him simply slip away.
Mistress Bianca kneels down to Casdegere’s body.
Mistress Bianca: Rikard…don’t.
Rikard realizes he would have a rough time with this fellow.
Rikard Castleberry: Stop, Treece.
Dorian Orsova (Half-Elf) puts a hand on Rikard’s chest. “Don’t son.”
Rikard Castleberry: I feel our business is not concluded.
Treece Alonso stops without turning about, as if waiting.
Rikard Castleberry: But no more blood will be shed on this day, we will settle this as per your original terms. When we are both healed.
Treece Alonso turns around to face Rikard.
Treece Alonso: But, I am unwounded Rikard….
Treece Alonso: So I’ll ask you. Are you challenging me?
Rikard Castleberry: It is your own terms, and I would not feel right fighting a man that just had a long battle.
Dorian Orsova (Half-Elf): Rikard, the debt is settled. To fight now would be something else entirely. The paper on you is now void. Casdegere ensured that.
Treece Alonso: Be a good boy and count your blessings. Friends like that don’t come along very often.
Treece Alonso turns about and continues walking towards the docks.
Rikard Castleberry glances at Dorian.
Mistress Bianca (quakes): Rikard! He paid your debt in blood. So you wouldn’t have to. Don’t throw that away.
Rikard Castleberry: Treece, there will be a day our paths cross again, and ‘proper’ forms will not settle things then. I look forward to it.
Rikard Castleberry: Now be gone from here.
Treece Alonso continues down to the docks, shifting the wolf’s head sword from the left to right hand.
Rikard Castleberry looks back at Bianca and Dorian.
Mistress Bianca: I think you should take his body back to the guild house Rikard.
Mistress Bianca stands up from the body.
Rikard Castleberry: I trust whatever it is you wanted to talk to me about can wait until I bring him back?
Rikard Castleberry: Dorian
. Dorian Orsova (Half-Elf): No. We’ll see to Casdegere. Lady Salmissra will want give him honors.
Rikard Castleberry: Very well then.
Rikard Castleberry walks away, aimlessly, obviously angry.