Anika went over the lacings of her light lorica vest and trews again, making sure all the knots were tight and the tag ends were tucked in. She wished she could remove the skirt she had worn in town as a deference to people’s more narrow-minded sensibilities, but the judges had insisted she fight this stupid duel as she was. Trying to keep from tripping over the hem of her skirt was liable to be a distraction, and when you were in a fight, the fewer things distracting you or falling off you, the better.
Her father, a mercenary turned weaponsmaster, had drilled that into her when she begged him to teach her the ways of the sword. It had taken her long months to convince him; he had told her straight out of the gate that the life of a mercenary sell-sword was a hard one, and a dangerous and often short one as well. But Anika had begged and wheedled, and proved her determination by doing every smelly, discipline-requiring job Petron had thrown at her to dissuade her and wear her down. When she stood in front of him, smelling of five days of stable leavings without complaining once, holding herself at attention despite a bone-deep desire to drop and fall asleep, Petron had sighed — but with a light of pride in his eyes that his daughter could see clearly — and told her to get bathed and eat. Her first lesson would be the next morning.
That had been seventeen years ago. Petron had taught her everything he knew about fighting and weapons in eight of those years. The rest had been spent traveling as a freelance mercenary, slowly earning a reputation with clients and the Mercenaries’ Guild as one of the youngest, ablest sell-swords in the country of Lyritea. She kept enough banked with the Mercs that she could choose the jobs she accepted now instead of having to take anything offered her. And in all her working time, she had managed to keep her nose clean, never get in trouble with city guards, clients or clients’ husbands — or lovers — and never, never with nobles….
Until today, when she had walked by the shrine of Nelagha, a god or saint or something she had never even heard of before in a city near the borders, and had apparently failed to salute the statue resting beneath the stone archway. Now here she was, gearing up for a judicial duel in the ring behind the courthouse. And, judging by the swirling field of energy that made up the “floor” of the ring, it probably wouldn’t be an easy one. Anika had heard about some towns in Lyritea’s southern border regions that were more influenced by the magic-bound traditions of the neighboring country than by the ways of Crown City, and this appeared to be one of them. Swallowing her nervousness, she stepped down through the gate of the arena, which clanged shut behind her with finality, and started scouting around for her opponent’s entry….
She didn’t have long to wait. No more than a minute later, the gate on the opposite side of the catha opened to reveal a bearded man in the blue and silver livery of the city courts. His hands glowed faintly as he bowed in ceremonial greeting. She returned the bow, having little choice but to go through with the fight, and yanked her long sword from the scabbard on her hip. Petron’s parting gift to her on her leaving home, he had sworn that this blade would cut down on problems with wizards and sorceresses. It was time to see just how much those words would hold up….
She had time to pull the sword up into a ready position; and then the mage was throwing a ball of lightning-fire at her. Reflexively, she swung at the stuff — and was mildly shocked to see the ball split in two and crackle into nothingness. Anika smiled slightly then; this was going to be a more equal battle than she had feared. As for the mage, she saw him goggling at her, then moving his hands as he readied another spell. Taking no chances, she dodged behind the tall monument in the center of the ring, considering how to lure him around to where she could close the battle to where a blade would count more than slung spells….
- Skin: PXL Candy SK SE, light eyebrows
- Eyes: Poetic sapphire eyes, gold flakes
- Lashes: LeLutka Photoshoot II
- Hair: Calico Ingmann Creations Temira (Burnt Copper, scripted)
- Clothes: MysticHope Anfaela Brown
- Boots: *RD* unisex tall leather boots
- Jewelry: EarthStones Crystal Elements suite (earth/gold — necklace 2 in the necklace pack)
- Other: Hanzo Blades Imperial Fury katana – hip sheathed
Photographed in Avilion Nexus combat sim — teleport to sim (in costume, as this is an RP sim) and go to magician’s dueling arena