BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL

STORMWIND

Pride
Thursday, February 28, 2008

Extract from the book ‘Duels of Persephone: The post-Unification period’ by former Persephone World News reporter Arthur C. Merryweather.


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 1995    RATING: 8    SERIES: FIREFLY

Extract from the book ‘Duels of Persephone: The post-Unification period’ by former Persephone World News reporter Arthur C. Merryweather.

Pride

Before his ignoble defeat at the hands of Malcolm Reynolds*, Atherton Wing had only truly faced death once before. It three years before, at the hands of a man barely past his majority.

Mikhail Drasky was young, proud and easily offended. It made for a dangerous combination, made even more so that Mikhail’s father was Ivan Drasky**, finest swordsmith in all of Persephone and an expert bladesman in his own right. Everything that Ivan knew about fighting he had taught his son and equipped him with arguably the finest blade he had ever crafted in his long career. Named Bing Cai *** by Drasky Snr, the sword was his masterwork. Nigh unbreakable, light as a goose feather, perfectly balanced and honed sharp enough to make the air hiss. The guards and quillions gleamed with silver filigree, the pommel shinned with a pure, clear crystal that caught the light, sending rainbows of colour in every direction. By any stretch of the imagination, Bing Cai is a beautiful sword.

No-one I spoke to remembered the slight that sparked the duel between Atherton and Mikhail. Mikhail is now unable to speak of it, buried deep as he is. Atherton simply refuses to recall the incident. In truth I suspect he does not remember either. For myself, I have always held the opinion that the duel was fought over who was the most prideful man in the room. But that is merely conjecture. The fact of the matter is that Atherton and Mikhail faced each other, swords drawn, the very next morning.

The mist swirled around the booted feet of the combatants and the onlookers. The early sun shone through the trees, where the birds chirped the endnotes of the dawn chorus. In a pond nearby a lone fish performed acrobatic hunting after elusive insects.

Behind Atherton, as always, stood his second, Mathew Welsh*^. The tall man stood silent, stalwart and bearded, Atherton’s coat in hand. The place of Mikhail’s second was filled by his father Ivan, the whip thin swordsmith a mirror image of his child.

I was privileged to witness this duel personally, in my official capacity as a reporter for Persephone World News, one of the few who saw one of the most iconic battles of the modern era.

The two combatants began by circling one another, Mikhail prowling like a wolf, tossing Bing Cai from hand to hand, Atherton straight-backed and supremely alert. With startling speed the younger man attacked, flipping a blinding strike down towards Atherton’s left side. The older man sent the sword glancing away just as quickly whirling as he did so, bringing the sword across his body in the classic form of the Kingfisher Strike^. Mikhail ducked and pressed his own attack, throwing his weight forward in The Falling Tree only to be met by the orthodox form of The Net. Sword forms flashed back and forward across the clearing, a display of skill and precision. Neither the gangly Mikhail nor the well-trim Atherton could gain an advantage. As the fight wore on, the tension began to grow, with both sides knowing that each blow may suddenly be their last movement.

A perfectly executed Charging Boar from Mikhail earned him first blood, after eight minutes of fighting, cutting Atherton across the lower thigh. Soon afterwards Atherton’s Hornet Swarm gained him a double wound to Mikhail’s shoulder. The fight became more intense. Reaver’s Fury was met with Smoke Grenade. Snipers Bullet was met with Disappearing Act. Tractor Beam was negated by Tailspin.

Then all of a sudden Mikhail lashed out in the long sweeping strike known as Skimmer Crash. Atherton leapt backwards, the blade seeming to touch him. The spectators breath caught collectively, sensing the end was nearing. But Atherton Wing did not fall. Instead he lunged forward in a classic thrust, catching Mikhail in the chest and driving the blade through his heart. The young man gasped and died almost instantly. As Atherton withdrew his sword, Ivan Drasky rushed forward, to hold his dead child in his arms. Atherton turned away and we all saw his throat. A shocked gasp arose. Directly across his windpipe was a thin red wound, slowly leaking blood. He touched the wound gingerly. A tenth of an inch deeper and he would be dead, his life blood spilling onto the ground before us, as Mikhail’s was now. Clearly Mikhail had thought he had killed his opponent and dropped his guard at the last, fatal, instant.

Clearly shaken, Atherton took his coat from the hands of Mathew Welsh and walked off into the sunlight, leaving behind a grieving father and a story that fast became Persephone legend.

*See chapter 14-The Burnt Eagle-for more details **See chapter 5-The Smith-for more details on Ivan Drasky ***Chinese-IceRrainbow *^ See chapter 22-The Bearded Assassin ^For more information on sword forms see Appendix iii

COMMENTS

Friday, February 29, 2008 5:07 AM

WYTCHCROFT


very much enjoyed this - toyed with the journalist form myself but couldn't get it down. well done:)

Friday, February 29, 2008 5:42 PM

NCBROWNCOAT


I hope this is leading up to the Mal/Ath duel.


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