The Squire and the Outlaw (Fall Contest Story)


"Daddy, got another one coming in," Leah said, looking out the window that faced the mud road coming into their little village. It wasn’t much of a place, but it was, at one time, a good community.
Jodun walked to the widow and looked over his daughter’s shoulders. The rider was a tall man with broad shoulders, and he had a hood covering his face, with a cloak protecting him from the stinging rain coming down.
Red had moved into town only a few weeks before. The Council did not see the village as a priority during this time of unrest with the orcs attacking Cove, and the demons over running Trinsic, even though only a couple of years ago this rag tag group of criminals would never be allowed to set up shop.
"Get away from the window," Jodun said to his daughter, as the man road up to their inn.
The heavy boots of the stranger made the steps creek, and clomped loudly as he walked in. He pulled back his hood, the rain still dripping and making a puddle under him. He looked to the inn keeper, his blue eyes seeming to gauge the man. He then offered a smile, and a nod.
"Hello, my name is Krist," he said simply.
"Jodun," the inn keeper said, nodding back. "Did you need a room?"
"I am looking for the one they call Red," Krist said, this bringing a frown to the inn keeper. Of course he was looking for Red, because Big Red needed another sword. He always wanted and needed another sword.
"His people dont stay here. Red has taken over the old church up a ways. Way I hear he has plenty of beds," the inn keeper said, then went back to cleaning, and preparing for in case someone actually came to stay at the inn.
Krist approached the counter, and pulled a folded scroll from under his cloak. He rolled it out in front of the inn keeper, and set it on the small bar. Jodun looked down to see a sketch of a face resembling the mean looking outlaw leader. The scar was over exaggerated, but it was apparently him. It had "Wanted" written on it, and a bounty of 500 gold.
Jodun looked up to Krist, then back to the scroll. "That is him."
"Send someone to him, let him know a single fighter is here to bring him in. Tell him I said he was a coward of a man, and would probably not come after me, so I would have to send word for the Britain guard to come meet me to gut him out of the church," Krist said.
Jodun looked Krist over, his eyes wide. Jodun was no coward, but it was a fools errand to challenge Big Red. Red had killed many a men, one on one , in fair enough fights to make Jodun a very dangerous man.
"Sir, he will kill you," Jodun said matter of factly. These knight types did not know what they were up against when it came to the outlaw. Jodun saw others die trying to claim the reward. Red actually enjoyed meeting them.

The knight stood on the north end of the street. On his back was a shield, on his hip was a short sword. He held a long sword, of Britain fashion, in his hands. His armor was also Britain, and heavily plated as knights wore. He seemed almost unhindered by it’s weight though, as if he had worn it many times over. It was made of white steel, with a lion carved and outlined in gold on the chest plate.
He came ready for combat.

"Do you have to fight him," Sweet Honey asked, as her and Red looked out over the town from the top balcony of the old church. Shadows were starting to get long, as mid day had already passed and the afternoon had set in.
"You know I do. What has gotten into you, Honey? You have seemed on edge since this guy came into town."
"I dont know. Nothing I guess. Something just feels strange about this guy. I can’t quite place it though," she said with concern.
"Just another boy squire wanting to be a knight," Red said, dismissing the idea that something was different.
Honey checked all of the leather straps that kept Red’s armor together. It was a hard leather armor, fit for movement, but strategically laced with iron for better protection. It also had inserted runes that offered him vitality, and some protection from physical harm. He had other magical armor, but he felt this set was best suited for this fight
"After he is dead, I want us to leave this place. Leave the gang. Just us. You have enough wealth now that we can get out of this life," she said, braiding his long hair back out of his face.
Red grinned, then simply nodded.

The warrior stood at the south end of the street, his long hair now braided out of his eyes. His armor was leather, but offered him good support and good mobility. It all appeared of good strong making. He carried a long serrated bastard sword in his hand, with two short swords hung on his side. There were no carvings in his armor, nothing to show any kind of loyalty. His banner was the long red hair, that gave him his name.

"Hey mister, are you leaving soon," the little girl asked from the door of his room, drawing Krist’s attention away from his armor. It was polished and in good shape, but he always checked it before going into a battle.
"Soon," Krist said, then offered something of a smile. "You are Leah, correct?"
The little girl nodded.
"My daddy owns this place," she said. It was something she seemed to enjoy reminding people of.
"Your daddy is a good man, " Krist said.
"Why you doing that," she asked, entering the room now.
"Good to keep armor in shape. This will protect me from bad people."
"Daddy says Red will kill you soon, I heard him tell the baker that yesterday," Leah offered.
Krist didn’t say anything at first, looking the little girl over.
"What do you think? Do you think he will beat me, or will I beat him?"
"He will beat you. Red always win," she shrugged. "He is nice to me too. He gives me candy and sometimes he gives me bracelets. Daddy dont let me keep them though."
"Your daddy is smart," Krist said. Leah nodded to that, but did not know why. It just seemed right.
Krist watched the little girl leave the room, then went back to polishing his armor.

The wind began to pick up, as it did in the evenings here, causing the knight’s cloak to begin to whip behind him. He paid it little mind, as he watched the large warrior. As Krist suspected, Red came alone, though Krist was not foolish enough to believe his men would not be watching from afar. It really did not matter. Red was the target, the one wanted, and the one that came to meet Krist. If anyone else became involved, Krist would have to deal with it. Red started walking towards Krist, and Krist began walking toward Red.

As the two felt one another out, parrying and circling for a moment, Red knew this would not be easy, Krist moved fluidly in his armor. He figured Krist would be like many in heavy armor, dependent on the armor.
Red powered through a block, pushing Krist’s sword back, and driving his shoulder into the Krist’s chest plate. Krist stumbled back a step, but countered with a kick to Red’s stomach, pushing him back and off balance as well. The two began to circle again, taking closer measure now.

"We watched him a bit boss, he don’t look too concerned, you know," Jorhan said. He was a stocky fighter from Bucs Den, who saw plenty of his own fights. He was tough as iron, but did not have the intelligence of other gang members.
"He may not be. Apparently he has won every fight he has ever fought, why would he think I would be different," Red said, stretching out. Red then picked up his sword with one hand and gave it some swings.
"I don’t recognize him none," Jorhan said.
"You concerned about this boy squire?"
"No sir, just saying I dont recognize him."
"He wears Britain armor, meaning he has been civilized by the cities. They lose their edge working in the cities, get soft. He is not going to be any different," Red said with little concern.
"Yeah, probably trained for military fighting. Shoulder to shoulder or on horseback, that kind of stuff."
Red smiled a bit and nodded. He put his daggers into his boots, slid his long knife into it’s sheath, and grabbed his sword again.
He took the sword off of a dead body when he was a mercenary fighting for a noble somewhere. He barely remembered who the noble was. They paid, he and his crew fought, till sides hardly mattered anymore.


The large man knew how to make use of his sword’s design, as the serrated edge caught Krist’s sword, driving it down. Krist quickly slid the sword free with a spin, but exposed his back in the process. He created distance again, then sliced his sword through the air, completing the spin around, and hoping to catch the criminal with a cut in the process. It did not, but the two were now face to face again. With a thrust of his sword, aimed at Krist’s chest, the warrior almost caught Krist with a killing blow. Krist used his armor to his advantage, and with a turn, caused the sword to graze the sturdy steel, and deflected the blow. He then struck Red with the long pommel of his sword, right in the side of the head. Though Red’s helmet protected him, the blow was still stunning.


Krist sat and ate breakfast, as the inn keeper watched him. He knew the man wanted to talk, but Krist did not wish to start the conversation. He was quite okay with no conversation, though he would not be rude. Finally the man spoke.
"So you fighting Red today," he said, not asked.
"I suppose," Krist said, and looked to the inn keeper.
"My daughter likes you. She is scared you will be killed. She also likes Red, and is scared he will be killed," the man said.
Krist nodded, unsure what the inn keeper wanted from him.
"I hope you get rid of him, and I hope the group is driven out of the village completely."


Krist had struck some well placed blows, but Red was able to deflect them. He did not have the advantage of the knight’s armor, and was kept busy blocking the blows that came. He was just now noticing that he was actually bleeding from some superficial wounds, denoting that his opponent had actually cut him. Though he hardly felt it, it was seldom that he was even harmed in these kinds of battles.
Red was not worried though. He had many tricks still up his sleeve. Krist would continue to fight with honor, he would fight to win. This would be his last fight as leader of the gang, and he planned on going out on two feet, not carried out on his back.
Krist ducked a mighty swing, that would have left most men off balance. It did not leave the big warrior Red anything but ready to swing his massive serrated sword again. The outlaw had apparently noticed he was losing the battle of swordsmanship to Krist, and decided to take it all up a notch.
At some point Krist realized he was no longer doing anything but defending. It was at this point he felt the dagger enter his chest, through his armor. It did not go in deep enough to kill, but it caused Krist to push back and away from the outlaw.
He never saw the dagger coming, but there it was, sticking out of his chest plate.
Krist removed the blade, stumbling a bit as he did, and tossed it to the ground. Exhaustion was already starting to set in, and now he was bleeding pretty bad under his armor.
"I dont play by your rules," the outlaw smiled, then spit out some blood.
Krist removed his helmet in order to take deeper breaths, and tossed it to the side.

The swords clanged together as Sweet Honey watched from a distance. Red would kill anyone from his gang that tried to help him, even though this one was very skilled, and had the potential of killing Red. Her lover had to know he was in danger of just that. She was always amazed at the ferocity of Red with a sword.
Now she was also amazed at the skill in which another warrior used his sword. This one was less rage and anger, and a bit more refined. In fact, even as Red cursed the man and yelled in anger, the knight silently went about his own work. She barely heard him utter his reply, "I am Lionheart". Neither seemed to pay much attention to their wounds.

Red dodged another slice, then drove his sword for a killing blow at Krist’s chest. Krist dodged the blow, then caught Red’s arms under his own. With one quick blow, the knight’s blade went into Red’s chest, and exited his back.
Red fell to his knees, then crumpled over.

Sweet Honey heard someone scream. It took her a moment to realize it was actually her screaming.

Krist was exhausted, even as blood dripped from under his chest plate. He looked down at the outlaw who was now dying. Both were bloodied and ragged. Krist knew he had potential of being dead soon as well, but the work was done. It took a moment to sink in that he heard a woman screaming, and looked about to see who it was. He could not find the source.
The outlaw was gasping hard, blood coming from his mouth now. Krist removed his sword from the man’s chest. He realized the outlaw was trying to grab his own sword. The outlaw was a true warrior, he would die with sword in hand.
Krist picked the serrated sword up and placed it into Red’s hand.
Red gave a nod, and Krist gave one back.
The outlaw was dead.


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