I was walking down the hall with my Jake in one hand and second wife Katawasa, we were laughing about something, and then I was feeling nothing, seeing nothing. I found I was also holding nothing, all was black. I was awake but had no references for anything. As my vision cleared I was standing in a strange and filthy hallway.
I dove and rolled to the right as I drew steel. There wasn't enough room to clear the Katana but I managed to get the wakizashi out and did a simple gedan giri or low level cut about eight inches off the floor. I had been attacked without warning by a thing called a sprite, a little elf like creature that hopped around and was making funny noises but the two short knives he carried were anything but funny. He laid open my left arm just below the elbow and the way it bled, it was deep. I was already in battle mode so I felt nothing and had fought these demons before.
My sweep netted nothing in results other than a little time. The little monster, on jumping over my blade, had turned his back so I let fly my Tanto which I still had in my Obi. It was almost an offhanded throw but it scored as the little elf screamed in pain. Before he could come all the way around I had closed the short distance and managed to pull a kesagiri with the blade which caught him on the inside of his leg by the knee and pealed the flesh off the bone up through his crotch and he was dead and as quickly disappeared.
I saw the protagonist that had called forth this demon and I think she was surprised at how easily I had torn up her magical creature. By that time I had my bow down and an arrow nocked and away. I knew she would be dead on impact, but no. A huge hairy hand appeared with lightning speed and caught it and a booming voice said, "Not yet. The games have yet to begin.
"Witch Kalie of Rameris be warned! Do that again and you die instantly."
I had to rip a strip off my dress to wrap my arm in as I looked around.
The voice then focused on me, "Matawasa, female Amazon warrior of... humm, says here Camelot or Camelot II, which is it?"
"Both you piece of excremental dung from the ass of hell! We recycle so I have lived on both. If you were so fucking all powerful you'd already know that." I needed to calm myself so I went to my little mental brook in my mind where I found peace and contentment, but today all I found was a damn mud puddle.
"Yes, but you are here and I am in charge and that is all that matters isn't it?" He snickered. "Tend your wound and be silent." I think his voice rose to 120 decibels.
"Ladies and gentlemen, demons, ghosts, and Ghouls. Wizards, warlocks, witches and warriors. Bears and goats and...humm, ok, a humple elk thing," It said.
I heard something somewhere say for it to come down and he'd humple him by sticking his antlers up his ass if he had one. It got a few laughs.
"Yes, well that aside. Welcome, I am called Glang the Inquisitor. I represent the Royal personage, Metalie de Brankl, that means ruler of the entire universe here, and soon to be ruler of all the other dimensions as well." I think he either snorted or laughed, so loud it was hard to tell.
"To matters at hand, first and foremost, any fighting in the barracks and you will be terminated, as in made dead, finished, deceased. Save it for the games.
"Rules are simple and straight forward, you enter the arena and at the sound of the Clarion you fight. All fights are to the death. End of rules. No time limits, no breaks.
"Each victor will be allowed recovery time as required. All winners will continue and the games shall progress until there is one survivor. That single survivor shall be permitted to return to their dimension.
"Why? It is no secret. We want to see what each dimension is capable of as potential threats to us. The winners dimension shall have the honor of being last to be conquered.
"There are 1243 of you. You represent 45 different dimensions. For your connivance, we have the entire place set up to automatically translate all the various languages to whatever one you speak.
Welcome to Metalie de Brankl's first Interdimensional War Games. Rest, the battles begin tomorrow. "
The witch bitch came and spat at me. "I know you Matawasa, you and that husband and other wives destroyed my culture on Ramaris IV. I will kill you, someway, somehow."
As she mentioned Jake and my other wives I almost broke down but I remembered Ramaris IV. "Your 'culture' was cannibalism and you didn't bother to ask for volunteers for supper." I told her as her eyes flashed between pools of black and crimson fire.
I turned and walked down this filthy hall toward the room I'd been assigned. My arm hurt.
Word was sent, I was to battle an elementalist called Shana Miarre. She was also known to be good with a sword.
I guess I was reading the sheet out loud. A very old man with a white beard almost to his feet sat near me. "I know her Matawasa. She is of my world."
"You know me?" I asked him.
"I know of you. Before you became Jake's sixth wife he saved our world from an early Blood Saber attack. Your dove necklace and Glang told me the rest." He was breathing hard just from the talking. What was he doing here? Surely they weren't going to have him fight?1
He smiled a weak smile, "Shana uses water as her primary distraction and as a drain of your will and energies which allows her to close and use her swords to rend flesh and finish an opponent.5
"Water elementalists can, depending on level of training and how much Djed, or inner energies available, use ice as a main weapon. Their opposite is fire.
"I fight tomorrow as well, first and last, but I have been around many generations battling evil and I tire." He slowly stood and hugged me as he whispered, "I've had many names, one you might have heard is called Merlin. Wear this, it will protect the mind." He smiled and shaking with age, he plopped back down.
Yes, I'd heard the name. "Thank you sir, my best regards, may the God Mother protect you and bring you to her if you fail the test." I bowed deeply to this old sage. Aawasa, our first wife, would have liked him.
As he sat I saw why he'd whispered as Glang had come sneaking up behind me, trying to be silent.
"Glang! You excrement of hell. I fight tomorrow and I was told you are not my adversary, pity." I smiled.
"You are here for our entertainment and study, nothing more. If you have no reason to stand there then be gone," he said.
"I require items for the fight, slime ball," I told him.
"Present them then and be gone, you try my patience." He almost smiled.
I had debated if I needed to use armor. Oh, we had it, and if we were going to be a spear and sword warrior we used it. Archers and sword usually didn't, restrictive, even in the ultra light versions. We usually had little more than an eight inch round wrist shield on the left hand to protect it while holding the bow and use it to block incoming arrows. The Titanium alloy was extremely light.
Our speed often got us the legend name of demons. I was often called the green demon with fingers of steel and if I went flick body parts fell. I was one of Jakes Sword Masters.
"I need my swords and Tanto, not some copies. I need a clean Amazon warrior dress, green, fresh green silk panties and a clean green Obi as well. I also need my bow. It is all on this list." I handed him the paper with my items.
"Oh wait, you're to stupid to read, need me to read it for you?"
That got to him a little, I could tell. His hit almost knocked me across the room. I stood wiping the blood off my lip. "Damaged goods don't fight well, Glang. Does his royal ass wipe know you hurt contestants before a battle? Maybe you make a little on side bets?"
He said nothing but I could tell he got the message. Men, sheez, most just big and dumb and if certain ones didn't make me feel sooo good...no, not now silly. Damn I get so distracted sometimes.
Merlin had slipped me a little blue crystal. I added it to my dove necklace, it tingled against my skin.
I slept little that night, dreams of my husband and nightmares of past battles, past deeds and the fight tomorrow. I ran over and over all the various combinations of magic she could use as well as her swords. If nothing more, the contest would be interesting.
After a shower and a light breakfast, I was waiting on my bunk when I had a visitor. She was three inches taller than me. Very pretty face with a freckle on her chin and a small scar. Her long black hair, like mine, had a sheen, almost a blue raven. She had on probably what she wore when brought here, it was dirty, like mine. This pit was not kept clean. I saw it was a dark blue sleeveless that matched her eyes and she also had nice, well made black boots. If she wore weapons or other items they where taken away upon arrival but the talking bear, before being turned into steaks, had said something about the Guardians wearing golden armor.
I stood as she approached; I knew who she was instinctively. "Hello, I am called Shana Miarre." Her voice was soft but I felt hid a deep passion.
"I am Matawasa, Queen Matawasa Spoonbill of Camelot II." As I said it, I saw a slight twinge of recognition.
"Camelot, yes, you and your swords are of legend. This whole thing really sucks you know. We both fight for good and right yet I must kill you to survive." She had a sad smile about her; I think she actually felt sorry.
"Well, I hope you don't mind if I decide not to die?" I aske.
"Swords against my magic and swords? You don't stand a chance, sorry but facts are facts," she said.
"True, I use no magic. Still, I refuse to go quietly." I had to dig a little, though I felt as sorry about it as she was. "Fight well and we shall see what we shall see." I bowed to her and she returned it, turned, and left me to my thoughts.
I sat on the edge of the bunk and found my quiet place, my bubbling brook and I felt the ebb and swell of the waves upon my soul. Funny, I used water to calm my inner self, to try to control both my angers and my fears and I was going to fight one who uses that same calming element against me.
I was jolted away from my thoughts; I found I was in my calming world a long time. Glang stood there. "Two hours." Was all he said. I noticed he had changed; he wore robes, like ancient Romans. He saw me react to it. "His majesty decreed we shall emulate Rome and their grand gladiatorial events." He actually smiled as he turned and left.
As I sat waiting for the event to start, I realized why she had come to see me. I would never go to an opponent before a match. Oh, I'd seen the sensei of earth and acknowledged their presence but I'd never talk to them. That would personalize them, that would make you feel for them, to see them as something other than a target to be liquidated. No, she was here because she had some nagging feeling. I don't know if they were seers. We had them, they saw sometimes the past or sometimes the future. No, she was here because she was worried about something.
At one hour I was brought to a holding cell, well, little more than a pen really. I could just see the arena through two slits in the front.
Soon two boys brought the items from Glang and left. I stripped naked and put on clean silk Panties, my dress was not what I wanted, it was not sheer with two thin straps that crossed my breasts, it was a full sleeveless dress that came down to almost my knees. Never do.
At least all was green, the color of my eyes. Even my Datio handle was green dyed sharkskin. Latwasa made my swords almost three hundred years ago, down the Katana blades side, just above the shinogi or grind ridge was written in Japanese, 'made for Matawasa by Brigid of Kildara.' She was one of the few legendary female smiths and the only maker of all our royal sword sets and the Twin Swords of Power for my husband Jake and my wife Linda, or sometimes called the Bronze Goddess. Never in almost a thousand years of recycled souls had one of our blades broken until worn past the hamon temper line, or folded edge, which means you were down to the iron sand base steel. At exactly 20 folds I remember there was over a million layers of hand forged steel along that yakiba edge.
I took the tanto, a really short sword or large dagger and chopped the hem off until the dress just passed my crotch, like the earth cheerleaders wore. I cut a deep V in the front and back as well. Ugly but would have to do. Before I put it on I rubbed my body down with homemade fire oil. I think it worked, my skin felt like it was on fire. I was getting uncomfortably hot.
I slipped on my dress, the Obi went around my waist, and I decided to strap the tanto sheath on my upper left arm for this fight. The shield had the old Camelot not the Camelot II design. UNF across the top, the Saber tooth tiger in the middle and the motto 'to be able to be removed in safety' across the bottom with the little pair of red panties in the corner. The jokes I'd heard about that motto made me smile. If they only knew.
I decided to stick the wakizashi through the Obi and hang the Katana from the gold loops this time. I carefully checked the sharpness of all three blades. When the battle begins, I will draw the bow and play the rest on the fly.
I held the bow with its five arrows in the left hand, I adjusted the limb roller eccentrics and the stabilizer and rechecked all of it. My special arrows I wanted had been denied; I had standard razor heads, three bladed and sharp, but still.
It took me almost ten minutes just to get my hair into a topknot without a mirror. I think I had it centered. Felt like it.
I saw through the slits that Merlin was deep in battle, enveloped in blue fire, and I could see red bolts hitting it, but not enough to see who or what he fought. I heard cheers and hoots from the crowds. Through the slit I saw a few, they all had dressed Roman style. Then a guard blocked the view.
Finally, a guard opened my pen. There were four there. I could probably kill all four, but I had no place to run so I would let them live for now. "Who won?" I asked one of them and got no response.
Glang came up and said, "It only matters that you win or loose your battle." He smiled his ugly smile.
He brought me to the wall with the slits and soon it opened, I was led out into the large arena. It took a bit for my eyes to adjust to the glare after the darkness of the pit. The sun was high in the sky and bright.
As I started to look around as someone clearly using an amplifier was saying, "From the south entrance for our next battle I present, in her golden armor, the Guardian in training, Elementalist Shana Miarre, renowned for both her magic and sword skills." I heard cheers and catcalls.
"From the north entrance, wearing green, I present Queen Matawasa Spoonbill of Camelot. Universally renowned swordswoman, self proclaimed barbarian and one of six wives of King Jake." Again there were a few catcalls and cheers.
"Hey idiot! I'm from Camelot II this life thank you," I screamed.
"Correction, she is from Camelot II." He snickered.
As he had been introducing us, I first noticed Shana's armor, it covered vital areas and was clearly light and totally functional but it didn't flex. Sword to sword she would loose.
As I scanned the arena I saw a crowd of maybe fifteen to twenty thousand. All wore bright colored Roman style robes and accouterments. A few of the women had fancy terria's and some had large jeweled hair pins. The Arena was similar to the ones I'd seen in old movies of Rome, but smaller by half than the main one in Rome. Steep sides filled with seats and if I was north, then middle and west was a reviewing stand. I saw an old guy with a very young woman beside him. By his staff and her crown I figured I now met the great Metalie de Brankl, which meant ruler of the universe, well, according to Glang. She was probably his wife but young, which reminded me of a Redneck joke about an old guy dying and his wife having to wait until she was fourteen to claim his estate. I think I snickered as Glang gave me a funny look.
"Roman rules?" I asked him.
"That is what he said. We emulate the Gladiatorial events."
I moved to where he placed me, a small painted circle. I saw Shana was in a similar circle about one hundred yards away. If Merlin was right in what he told me she couldn't cast anything effective beyond fifty at max, we'd see.
The announcer, who I could not see anywhere said, "The rules are simple, the battle is to the death, the winner advances. Only the final winner will be returned to their home. When his majesty drops his hand and the Clarion sounds the battle may begin. Watch his hand." He said it so incompassionately.
I cannot say what I feel as I stand here. Fear? No, I had trained to many lifetimes to harbor fear. Concern? Maybe a little. Hate for the opponent? None, like me she was doing what she must. I did have hate for those bringing us here; I hated Glang for hitting me and treating everyone like dirt. I felt a little pain from the fire oil and a slight headache as a fever started into high gear.
I removed two arrows from the holders and nocked one and held the second in my teeth and waited. His royal ass finally raised his hand as he looked toward us both then dropped it and the Clarion sounded. I stood and waited, Shana did as well, neither moving. She was well disciplined and was waiting for me to make an opening gambit. Was not going to happen of course. I had my fingers poised on the bow string and ready to raise, but I wasn't going to move first.
After a minute of nothing happening and the crowd booing us his royal excreatment motioned to someone off to my left but I dared not remove my eyes from Shana.
"Ladies," The announcer said, "We will count to ten then both of you will die if you have not commenced. One," He said and I saw Glang at the limit of my peripheral vision holding a rifle of some type. It was not aimed at the ground. "Two," said the voice then three and so on. At eight, Shana was clearly fidgeting, she would move first or we both died, either way. At one she brought her hands up with her water pouch and was casting. I had already picked my spot and let fly my first arrow. With her elbows bent the joint was partly exposed on her sword arm. I nocked the second and let fly as she threw her hands forward. The first arrow missed, it glanced off the armor. The second was at her knee, she had planted and was firm while she cast. It struck a glancing blow off her knee joint, I saw blood flow but it was little more than a scratch.
Her cast was a shard storm but, as I thought, I was to far away. Only two or three at the very edge even reached me. If I held firm she would have to close the range.
She immediately started a second cast, changed her mind, and bolted forward about 25 feet then cast again. I think it might have been a mind freeze but I felt little more than a twinge as I felt the little crystal on my necklace vibrate slightly against my skin. Again, range was a big factor.
I nocked up the third arrow as again the crowd did a few boos. I wondered how many actually knew that two sword masters fighting each other seldom lasted but a few seconds? Samurai based the gambit on blinding speed at the opening and almost never attempt to block, we would dodge if needed but it was usually win or loose at the first moves. Only against multiple opponents was a protracted fight the norm.
I saw her set and start a third cast, this time she took longer as my third arrow hit her arm and laid it open just above the elbow and I saw her winch and stop her cast for a second. I had only postponed the cast a bit, not stopped it. She threw her hands forward and was then backing up as I nocked the forth arrow.
She had called forth a small water spirit and was backpedaling as it formed at about two feet high and moved toward me. I knew it was useless but I fired off the forth and, as I thought, it traveled right through the spirit.
The spirit closed the distance and fired off an ice spear, then a second. I deflected the first with my shield and the second I side stepped but I noticed the demon had reduced in size. Of course! It needed to use its own being to make the ice. Next was a blast of shards and it visibly reduced in size yet again. I saw Shana running at me in the distance as I blocked a few shards and tried to dodge the rest. I was only partly successful. A shard laid open my right thigh on the outside. A gash about an inch deep. Another sizzled in my left arm as it melted. I did a mental block of the pain and closed with the spirit, now half its original size. Meanwhile Shana had tried another cast; I felt the amulet tingle against me. I slammed into the spirit with my shield and it splattered about, but enough recovered to try one last move, it shot water at my head. I dodged it and tried to grasp what was left but it vaporized on contact and turned to scalding steam. I felt the tingle of the amulet and the steam had little effect on me other than blurring my vision.
I nocked and let fly my last arrow at the blur coming toward me. I knew she was still twenty or thirty yards away. I dropped the bow and drew both swords as my vision cleared. She stopped and was casting; I guess my last shot missed as well. She was fast.
Ice shackles appeared around my feet and I couldn't move then she cast a mind freeze. I just stood there. It had no effect, but I wanted her to think it did.
During this exchange, the crowd had come alive. The yelling and cheering were almost to the point of being deafening. I felt the ice shackles melting against my hot skin as Shana made her first mistake. She didn't close and finish the job, she sort of gloated like saying 'I told you so'. She cast Ice prison around me then frost as well, thinking she had me locked down tight she came close, hands on her blades, "Time to die Matawasa," she said and drew her swords.
I think I shocked her as I said, "Yes, it is." I squatted down and just the flexing broke the shackles. I did a gedan giri or low level cut. It shattered the ice prison and the wakizashi struck her exposed chin from the side, just above her boot and below the edge of her leg armor. I felt bone break. She stumbled back and almost fell but hopped to her other foot as she tried to do two yokogiri or horizontal cuts in a scissors fashion but she was slow and far to late, I wasn't there. I went stance as she came around to her right to face me. I did a noto with the wakizashi and just had the Katana as two handed.
She hopped forward, her leg was broken and almost cut through. She held her swords to her good side, left one low and right mid height and was ready to slash at me, but I did a double Musashi on her, well, it was developed by Miyamoto Musashi, a 16th century master samurai I studied. It was thought to be impossible. I spent a whole lifetime perfecting it and even wife Linda; a demon-spawned goddess could not stop my doubling of it.
To Shana's credit, she blocked the first one but it takes to many seconds to recover and stance to block the second. Wack, wack, flick. I had hit her up side her head on one side with the flat of my sword, then the other side then I slashed both her arms and she could hold swords no longer. She crashed to the ground. I had knocked her out. I straddled her crumpled body and drew my Tanto to give the final death grace to her, but no. Roman rules. I stood as straight as I could; I hurt all over and held my thumb down to the crowd. I heard a few murmurs then a slow cheer as more and more stood and pointed their thumbs down as well.
Glang had moved into view again and told me to kill her. I told him no. The crowd said let her live which was clear with almost all thumbs down. I wasn't positive if they knew the original thumbs down meant to live rather than the current thumbs up. I did.
His royal butt wipe rose and looked around, his head now well above the glass or lexan shied he had been hiding behind. Then he held his arm straight out and had the thumb down but turned it up in defiance of the crowd.
Rejecting the roman rules. Glang said, "Kill her or I kill you." He smiled sadistically at me until he noticed the wakizashi handle stuck where his teeth use to be. I never could throw that sword as I wanted too.
I did a long, side arm throw of the Tanto and his royal ass in the stand could not hold his arm up. He had both his hands on the tanto sticking in his neck. I saw blood coming out his mouth and could hear him gurgling as his eyes got so wide. He didn't know if to pull it out or not. He finally collapsed but by then I had moved to Glang who had bent over spitting out teeth and blood.
"Never threaten a Queen, Glang. Roman rules." He glanced up in time to see the Katana coming down on his neck. I felt the jar as it cut through muscle and bone and his head rolled from his body. Blood gushed from the headless neck and it finally fell forward in the dirt. I stood, faced the crowd, and bowed then I felt nothing. Like when I was snatched to here, lights out.
I was not dead, I could think, but I could not see, hear, or feel anything. Did they let Shana live? Had Merlin won his? Oh well, it was worth it. I smiled and thought of Jakes warm touch, his tender kiss and I slept.