Wasting no time, he followed the young squire as fast as he could towards their destination…which became apparent in mere moments. In the streets ahead lay several bodies, and a ragged looking corsair was fending off three of his knights at once…an impressive feat in itself and worthy of recognition, but Dupre had eyes for only one person on the battlefield right then. Two of his other knights were wounded and bleeding through their armor as they staggered away, trying to get a moments respite…or possibly fleeing. A final remaining one hurled a purple potion at the back of a cloaked woman…who spun and caught it with her whip, and then with a flash of motion hurled it back at the remaining knight, sending him reeling as it hit. The dark-haired woman laughed, and the squire nearby said something, but it was all white noise to Sir Dupre as he charged for the woman in her studded leather armor and cloak.
“Time for your reckoning, Enchantress!”
He raised his blade up as he charged, blocking a burst of magical energy on his shield from Minax. The impact was far stronger than he was used to, but he was already leaning into it and it only slowed him briefly as he swung for her neck. The lithe sorceress backpedaled and leaned out of the way, deftly dodging back and forth from each of the famous Knight’s strikes, and warding him off with cracks of the whip towards his visor. Despite knowing the slim chance of her hitting him in such a small target, each time caused him to blink and shy away just enough for her to keep the distance. She was practically dancing backwards, but his assault was keeping her from getting another spell off. He heard a cry from behind him and saw a sudden grin light up Lady Minax’s face, before her lips parted and she spoke in a soft, mocking tone. “I’m afraid this is the end of you, Dupre.”
He sidestepped as soon as she started to talk and raised his shield, preparing to intercept a strike from the corsair, who grinned with a mouthful of missing teeth. The cutlass he swung left little motes of light behind it as it trailed down, and Sir Dupre instinctively turned his shield slightly…even as the cutlass hacked off a corner of the battered shield. Enchanted blade…powerfully enchanted, at that. He could see out of his peripheral vision now that Minax had turned her back to him, and though he ached to make her pay for that arrogance, the corsair pressed on hard.
Sir Dupre parried the next blow and blocked the follow up, but each one sheared off either a piece of shield or gouged a nick into his blade. He attacked like a berserker, trying to keep Dupre on the defenseive, but finally the corsair made a misstep. Sir Dupre closed the distance, locking him in a clash of broadsword and shield against cutlass as they both pressed against the other and tried to overpower through sheer strength.
“Ha! The grea’ Sir Dupre, ain’ yer? Ol’ Shanty’s ‘ere fer yer now, lad. Yer boys were good…but Ol’ Shanty’s Sharkbite proved ter much fer ’em. Looks like it’s ter much fer yer as well!”
The corsair’s breath stank of rum and decay as he laughed in the knight’s face, and Dupre pressed harder, starting to force him back. He could feel the man’s strength failing him, and it would only take one opening…knock the blade away from him and he’d be helpless, as lightly armored in leathers as he was…but just as he prepared to give him the final shove a crack snapped the air and he heard a crack and a tug as Minax’s whip wrapped around his plate gorget, and she started to pull.
“Shanty, you said you had his measure…” Her voice was filled with irritation but a trace of amusement.
With the Enchantress aiding Shanty, he weighed his options, gritting his teeth under his helmet…none of them were good, but at any second she could add her magical might to this if she grew bored with it. With a last shove of his shield, he flung Shanty backwards, and reared his blade to strike while Shanty raised his to block…a blow that Dupre never aimed at him. Dupre’s sword cleaved through the whip in a single stroke, and he raised his shield to block as a bolt of pure energy tore from Minax’s other hand, forcing him back a pace. He started to turn to meet Shanty as he caught motion out of the corner of his eye, but he already knew it was going to be too slow.
When his blade came up to match the corsairs’ own, Sharkbite cleaved through Dupre’s sword and snapped off the last third of the blade. The glittering cutlass continued on, skittering across his armor before catching a seam and taking a chunk of it…and of his shoulder…clean off. The pain and impact drove him down to one knee, and Shanty struck again, with Dupre barely getting his shield up in time to block. As he held it with both hands against the man, Sharkbite was slowly cleaving through the shield, closer and closer to his arm, and he heard the Enchantress start to cast. So this is how it ends…
And then suddenly the Enchantress swore as an explosion went off, and then another; Dupre’s vision flashed with white as a massive lightning bolt exploded right next to himself and the corsair, weakening his attack just long enough for him to get his feet under him, and cast him to one side. As he rose to his feet, Shanty bolted…running straight for Minax and grabbing her, and both of them vanished in an instant after she cast a spell.
Sir Dupre looked over as the one who threw the potion at the enchantress ran up to him, the squire who’d initially fetched him…and had ran back for armament it seemed. He glanced down to his broken broadsword and the practically ruined shield before he noticed the squire was talking. “Sir, you’re hurt! We need to get you to the healers!”
Sir Dupre smiled inside his helmet. He’d watched two of his own armored knights flee with what looked like only minor wounds, and this unarmored squire had returned and attacked the Enchantress herself. It was only then though that he saw who the squire was accompanied by, and his smile died beneath his helmet. Standing smugly on the street with an air of sheer bravado was a man in a llama hair robe and cloak, who practically giggled with laughter as he saw Dupre’s stance go rigid.
“I do believe that you owe me a debt of Honor now, Mister Shiny. Or would you rather Halfblade after that performance? And here I thought you knew how to use those things.” Anon’s mocking tone inspired an anger in him that begged for redress, but he only gripped his broken weapon’s hilt tighter and finally sheathed it.
“What are you doing here, Anon? I’ve no time for this…I’ve got wounded knights to deal with. If you want to gloat, go do it over at your Lycaeum with all your sycophants praising how wondrous you are while you chew your mandrake and cavort with…” Dupre’s words stopped as a man flanked by two guards approached, and Anon’s grin got even wider.
“Oh, where are my manners, Mister Shiny? Did I neglect to mention I had company for you? You know, it’s only courteous to curtsey to His Royal Highness the King of the Realm and the wondrous Lord Blackthorn, Master of Chess and…”
“Grand Councilor…enough. Please.” The King’s voice was a bit strained, and he waved him off. “Sir Dupre, I’d like to speak with you…after your wounds have been tended to.”
Dupre nodded, but every part of him bristled at Anon’s presence with the King. “And him?”
King Blackthorn followed Dupre’s gaze to the giggling mage for a moment. “He’s with me, and the Grand Councilor’s abilities and services are needed…as are yours, for the good of the Kingdom.”
Dupre weighed his request for but a moment before exhaling, and discarding the broken remains of his shield, the crest on the front nearly cleaved in half. “I’ll meet you at the Keg and Anchor within the hour, then.”
“Ever the drunkard, I see! Shall we bring a nice winsome lass for you to woo and slobber over as well?” Anon’s taunts cast out after Dupre’s back as he walked towards the healers with the squire.
“I’ll find a nice handsome mongbat for you in exchange, mage.” He could hear the Grand Councilor’s tittering laughs behind him, but ignored them as the squire led him on.