“Captain Springbloom,” Lillian said as she drew her sword and faced down Captain Springbloom. “You don’t want to do this.”
“Oh, but I do,” Captain Springbloom said with a smile.
“Both of you, stop this,” Riffen shouted and Shadow began to bark.
Riffen had stepped out and was now standing among Sigthyme, Tak, Juniper, Grace, and a few Soulon Guards.
“I demand that both of you stop this at once,” Riffen shouted.
“Sorry Prince Riffen. I cannot do that,” Captain Springbloom said.
“But…but I’m your Prince. You listen to me,” Riffen said.
“My authority comes from something above you, Prince Riffen. Standing before you is an enemy of the crown. She will be brought to justice,” Captain Springbloom said. “My authority comes from Soulon itself. It’s people. It’s King and Queen. We must root out traitors if our country is to survive.”
“I’m not a traitor,” Lillian said.
“You abandoned your post and dragged Riffen to this dangerous city. Your actions almost got the Prince killed by thieves. We cannot let this slide.”
As Captain Springbloom said this, members of the army took a step forward. Even the soldiers originally stationed around the tent, drew their weapons and took a step forward. There was now a loose circle around Lillian, with Riffen, Tak, Juniper, Grace, and Sigthyme on the outside.
“Riffen, what’s going on?” Juniper asked.
“What do you want us to do?” Sigthyme asked.
All four of them turned to look at Riffen, but he stood there, shaky on his legs.
“I…I…” He shook his head, unsure of what to do. “We cannot fight an army.”
“Make this easy on yourself, traitor. Drop your weapon and I’ll personally see that you are returned to Frost Haven to be hanged,” Captain Springbloom said with a grin. “Otherwise this will be a lot messier.”
Sigthyme turned back toward Riffen. The Prince looked worn down and worried. He clutched his side and his legs shaked.
Riffen met his eyes.
Sigthyme nodded and then turned toward the soldiers.
“Everyone halt!” SIgthyme shouted and the soldiers stopped for a moment.
Captain Springbloom turned to look at the group.
“What are you trying to pull? You have no authority here,” Captain Springbloom said.
“No, but Prince Riffen does. He is the authority here, not you, Captain,” Sigthyme said. “These soldiers would be fools to not listen to their Prince.”
“These soldiers are loyal to me and will follow my commands,” Captain Springbloom said. “They share in my vision and know we must do everything in our power to put down this traitor.”
“You claim to have their loyalty but you claim to know better than the Prince. How can you praise the crown but fail to listen to its orders?”
“Hold your tongue, bard or I will cut it out. My path is righteous. Yours is not,” Captain Springbloom shouted. “Enough nonsense. Seize the traitor.”
Even though Captain Springbloom gave an order, the Soulon soldiers remained still. They still had their weapons drawn, but they were caught between the words of Captain Springbloom and the words of Sigthyme
Captain Springbloom looked at the soldiers and shook her head.
“Fine. I’ll do it myself,” She said with a scoff.
She then raised her sword at Lillian.
“Savor these last few breaths,” Captain Springbloom said before charging towards Lillian.
Captain Springbloom moved quickly for someone wearing heavy armor. Her long sword seemed to glow with a bit of white light as she charged at Lillian. Captain Springbloom swung the blade quickly, but Lillian managed to raise her shield just in time. The blade deflected off the shield and sparks flew. Captain Springbloom swung again and this time Lillian used her own sword to parry the attack away. However the force almost knocked Lillian over and she had to take a few steps back.
“Riffen we got to help her,” Juniper said as she pulled an arrow from her quiver.
“No,” Riffen said. “Any interference and the army will come to the Captain’s aid. This is Lillian’s fight and we cannot assist.”
“What if she kills her?” Sigthyme asked.
“She won’t,” Riffen said.
Without a moment of hesitation, Captain Springbloom charged once again and swung her long sword toward Lillian. Lillian raised her blade and blocked the attack, barely knocking the sword away. Captain Springbloom raised her leg and kicked, slamming Lillian into the chest, knocking her backwards onto her back.
Captain Springbloom spun the long sword and plunged the sword downwards toward Lillian. Lillian let out a small gasp before rolling out of the way seconds before the blade struck the ground with a flash of light.
“Can’t keep running forever,” Captain Springbloom said with gritted teeth. “Fight me!”
Captain Springbloom’s sword glowed a bit brighter as Lillan scrambled to her feet, breathing heavily.
“What are you trying to prove?” Lillian asked as she steadied herself.
“Soulon will crumble if it relies on cowards and traitors like you,” Captain Springbloom said. “You abandoned your post in the palace and ran away from your country. You don’t deserve another breath.”
Captain Springbloom launched herself forward and brought the sword down toward Lillian. Lillian raised her shield and the sword collided. There was a flash of white light and the thunderous clang of metal. Lillian fell backwards and rolled onto her feet. Her shield was badly dented and had a large crack through the middle of it.
“I’m not a coward or a traitor,” Lillian said. “You don’t know the full situation. I had to find a new path.”
Lillian glanced over at Riffen who met her eyes and bowed his head a bit.
“Excuses. Bloody excuses,” Captain Springbloom said. “You ran from your responsibilities then and you’re doing it now. Face me and fight.”
“You are desperate for a fight and desperate for blood. Blinded by your own loyalty and you always think you are right. Look around you. Do these soldiers think it’s right that two Soulon Captains are fighting?”
“You speak of loyalty but you know nothing about it. Soulon will be better once your blood is spilt.”
Lillian shook her head.
“If you will not listen to my words, then I’ll have no choice,” Lillian said.
Lillian tossed her broken shield aside and gripped her sword with both hands. Captain Springbloom smiled and tightened her grip on the long sword.
The two warriors slowly moved in a circle around each other, blade ready, just waiting for a moment to strike. Captain Springbloom moved first and swung the sword with such thunderous force. On the other hand, Lillian moved swiftly and used her dexterity to deflect the blows of the long sword. The two swords clashed together and sparks flew. The battle seemed even as both Captain Lillian and Captain Springbloom fought with everything they had. However with each strike, Captain Springbloom seemed to slowly gain the upperhand. Lillian started out moving quickly, but strike after strike of the sword against hers, she grew tired. Her breathing was heavy and her sword was beginning to bend slightly.
Seeing her window of opportunity closing, Lillian made her move and lunged with her sword. It struck in between the plates of Captain Springbloom’s armor sending a spray of blood from Captain Springbloom’s left arm.
Captain Springbloom gritted her teeth and let out a huff.
“The blood of the kingdom,” She said. “Real blood.”
Captain Springbloom spun and struck Lillian in the leg. Lillian let out a scream as she crumbled to the ground. Blood shot from the back of her leg. Captain Springbloom then kicked Lillian’s sword away and placed a heavy boot on Lillian’s chest.
Lillian grabbed Captain Springbloom’s leg and tried to move it, but Captain Springbloom just pressed down more. There were a few cracks as Lillian let out a gasp.
“Riffen?” Grace asked.
“We need to help her,” Juniper said.
“Captain Springbloom, enough!” Riffen yelled out.
Captain Springbloom did not listen. She just pressed her boot down harder and pointed the blade at Lillian’s throat.
“Weak. Pathetic.” Captain Springbloom said.
“What is going on here?” A new voice asked.
The circle of Soulan soldiers split apart revealing a new convoy of people. Standing on the opposite side of the circle than the group was standing at, was Pria Selorn and a small group of Dwarvish soldiers dressed in the battle armor of Mardrec.
“Captain Springbloom, what is the meaning of this?” Pria asked before looking down at the ground. “Captain Evergreen?”
“Help….me..” Lillian said with shallow breaths.
Captain Springbloom took her foot off of Lillian’s chest and Lillian took a deep breath, choking and coughing up blood.
“This traitor entered the camp after the explosion near the gate,” Captain Springbloom said. “I did what I could to subdue her.”
“Is that what you call this?” Pria asked.
She then quickly turned back to the group of Dwarvish soldiers. Standing amongst them was a Dwarf who stood out because she was wearing robes endued with the symbol of Mardrec.
“I’m so sorry. I don’t know what is going on, but I…I don’t know what to say,” Pria said.
“Uncivilized,” The Dwarvish woman said. “I expected more from the human army resting at our gates.”
“I’ve never seen such a thing, Habbie. I’m very sorry. Tensions must be high,” Pria said.
“Bloodthirsty soldiers right outside the city will not sit well with the king,” Habbie said.
“Who is this?” Captain Springbloom asked.
“Uh. Sorry. Right,” Pria said as she tried to collect her thoughts. “Captain Springbloom, this is Habbie, advisor to King Forgebringer. Habbie, this is Fe Springbloom, captain of the Soulon Army.”
“And who is that?” Habbie asked, pointing toward Lilian who still laid on the ground, catching her breath.
“That is… Lillian Evergreen. Captain of the Frost Haven Palace guards,” Pria said.
“Right,” Habbie said. “Well I must return to the King’s side and tell him about the attack on the gate and the status of the Soulon Army. I would recommend returning to the city before the lockdown begins.”
“Of course. Yes. Nice talking to you,” Pria said.
Habbie turned around and walked away as the Marder soldiers followed behind her.
Pria turned back around and looked at the scene before her.
“What in the nine hells is going on here?” She asked, eyes full of fury.