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The Duel

The Duel published on 9 Comments on The Duel

You are outmatched in terms of skill with a blade, so fight smart. Make him frustrated with you. Make him reckless.

Violet the Screeching Creature

Blademaster Alex established himself as a fearsome duellist well before you were born. Both in tourneys and upon the battlefield, the Sterling Knight’s reputation shone bright and untarnished. Even now, as the Blademaster’s fur dulls and droops with age, his stance remains poised and purposeful, and his eyes burn with veteran confidence. You will not be able to out-duel this person with sword skill alone. To have a hope of surviving, you will have to win the battle on an intellectual level. You will have to use patience, cunning, and strategy.

You call the Blademaster a milksop.

“I hope your blade is sharper than your words, boy.”

Alex wastes no time. He lunges, bringing his falchion down like a guillotine. On guttural instinct, you throw yourself backwards, narrowly avoiding the flash of silver.

Heart racing, you scramble back into your en garde stance. You saw no flaw, no hint of an opening in the Blademaster’s technique. You’ll have to do better than that if you want to goad him into making a mistake.

He’s a coward who would more readily draw his blade on his own men than on an enemy. Call him out, and LOUDLY.


You say that a knight who would use his sword to cut down friend before foe is a coward unworthy of being a knight, much less the royal Blademaster.

“Oh? What would a brave, worthy knight do?”

He advances, and you take a step back.

“Would they rally the Guard? Dig their heels in? Fight the titan head-on?”

He advances, and again you step back, stumbling in the muddy, uneven ground.

Grab his swooshnoodle.

Iron Wofle

You regain your footing and start to circle Alex, looking for an opportunity to grab his fluffy tail. It’s a notoriously undignified move, but if you can pull it off it would put you at a significant advantage. However, Alex refuses to fall for such an amateurish manoeuvre. He swings his falchion in a wide slice, brushing the tips of your whiskers.

“I already know what happens when little mice fight big titans. I’ve witnessed the results. Good knights are maimed. Good knights die. Every time.”

You know you can’t win this by fighting fair… pocket sand!


You drop low, scoop a pawful of silt and fling it towards Alex’s face. He effortlessly deflects the muddy clod with his shield and seizes the opportunity to close the distance between you.

“So don’t mistake my actions for cowardice. I’m dragging you back to Murida because I refuse to let any more knights die under my watch!”

He brings his sword down for a final vertical attack. You have no time to evade. With frantic desperation, you bring your needle up and, in a move that surprises you as much as it surprises Alex, you parry his blade with the middle of your own. Alex recoils, his sword ringing from the hit.

That’s when you see it.

An opening.

An opportunity.

You lunge, thrusting your needle forward with all your might.

It’s a good hit. You feel the sword pass through layers of fustian cloth, fur, and meat.

Alex flinches, but he does not fall. As you withdraw your bloodied blade, he smacks you across the temple with his buckler, sending you spinning to the dirt.

“Alright,” says Rosaline from the sidelines. “That’s one good hit each. Maybe call it a draw before someone actually gets hurt.”

You and Alex exchange a mutual look of exhaustion, pain, and resignation. Rosaline is right: this is as far as the duel goes with two lives still intact.

With a wince, Alex sheathes his falchion and holsters his shield. He gently massages his shoulder.

“I don’t know why I bother. I’m tending to a pathetic child who doesn’t even value his own life. So you know what? Fine. If you want to play hero and fight a vulpes, then who am I to stop you? Feel free. Go get yourself killed. I’m off to find that pigeon and head back to Murida.”

He turns and stomps off into the overgrowth.

Rosaline goes to follow, but she stops herself. She glances between her commander in the distance and you in the mud.

Val gives a shrug. “So.”

“What now?”


We can’t leave them here. We’ll fight the titan together. Let’s spend as much time as we can training and arming the voles here with rocks and sticks and set up an ambush.

Move all the people. The time might not be on your side, but staying here will only lead to a fight you can’t win.
If you can make it to the bird before Alex, maybe you can also send a message to the capitol about the situation.

Maybe Alex is right. Maybe you will die fighting off the Vulpes. Maybe this is all a hopeless losing battle. Or maybe it isnt. But one thing is for certain: If no one does anything, the shrews *will* die. It is the duty of the Thimble Guard to protect the citizens of Murida. Thats ultimately why you joined, isnt it? So what use is a Thimble Guard that wont do its duty, for fear of losing people? There is none. It’s nothing more than a status symbol: Pretty to look at, but entirely worthless.

So what say you, Val? What say you, Rosaline? Do you want the Thimble Guard to mean something? Something with purpose?

We’re short on resources and shorter on time. What we need is to make eating shrews as inconvenient as possible while we work to get them somewhere that they aren’t going to be eaten.

Consider sharpened stakes and other traps that will inconvenience the titan, and ask your peers for advice on a safe haven for the shrews, maybe even interrogate the populace for destinations or unexpected options. Fighting the titan is not our goal, saving the people is.

Trap the heck out of Solhill. The vulpes considers it one of his dens, home turf he’s comfortable with. He won’t be expecting modifications that drop boulders on his head, pits containing hinged thorny traps to catch a paw, ambushes that go for the eyes. What you can set up in the little time remaining probably won’t succeed in actually killing him, but it will buy enough time to evacuate the people.

Priority one now, though, is to talk to the residents. Find out anything they know about the titan, and anything hidden about Solhill that can be used to your advantage. You’re already breaking the contract by not leaving, so may as well go as dirty as you need to to survive. Alex chose to flee because it’s legitimately the best option for personal survival, so that is still the plan for everybody long term. But first we need to make sure everybody survives the night.

Well I’m good with a draw. Now Lemon you must apologize to Alex. For stabbing him and for how you behaved. You might be able to patch your relationship with him and bring him around to helping the voles. Just don’t ask for that too soon.