Name Work-in-Progress

Author: Toxic9813

Editor: PX85

A/N: This (my first literary work to be posted publicly) story is lightly based on the game Mount & Blade - Warband. But, if I continue this story, you will learn it turns out to be much more. I think the term is AU. It's in the same relative time period, but similar to the concept of Steampunk. And later, Fantasy. For the record, this story is already written, but this chapter is made as a one-shot. I'm posting this first, heavily revised chapter on FF net at the urging of PX85, and I hope it gets some sort of positive feedback. Upon request, I can easily continue. The dialogue has been Americanized, and the names probably don't fit the time period, or anything for that matter, but hey, MY story ;) No more explanations. Please review, and thanks for at least looking here.

In the pouring rain of the rolling hills, Talon pushed himself out of the mud after being rocked by a lucky blow. "Is that the best you've got? That can't be it!" Talon was a mercenary leader under the command of the Vaegirs. Selected for his mostly-cool head in combat, and his personality which made him popular among the men that followed him. Talon quickly jumped to his feet, despite his heavy plated armour, to face the dozens of enemy soldiers that dared face his prowess. He wasn't one for killing, and tried to disable his enemies when possible, but he can and would kill if he felt like it. He was good at both, and that made him very well known among his friends and foes alike.

Talon readied his fighting stance, and motioned to his troops behind him to advance. 'I haven't seen the enemy commander anywhere... Where is he hiding?' Talon thought and he glanced around. Just then, an enemy footsoldier charged at him. Talon swung his left arm around and bashed the opponent with the curved metal edge of his shield, and he slammed into the ground, covering his face, now spilling blood. "Too easy. When are you actually going to try, eh? Bring it on", Talon taunted the remaining men. Several men tried to flank him, but were all stopped by his own. 'There are so many of them, but none of them have any skill... This is miserable. At this rate, we'll have taken down all of them without losing a single man!' He looked over the remaining opponents, and saw one far to his right, in combat with one of his own men, but wearing a green heraldic symbol. 'He -obviously- isn't one of mine...' He couldn't tell for sure, but it had to be a leader of some sort.

Talon stared down the opponent, and his men kept the enemy at bay while waiting for his orders. As the supposed officer cut down Talon's man with ease, he seemed to return the look; his face hidden by his helmet. 'There's someone worth my time!' Talon thought anxiously. "Alright men, take care of these peasants. Only kill them if absolutely necessary. I'm moving to the right!." Talon shouted over the rain and roaring combat. He pulled back and ran around the clashing mob towards his target. He came upon this new officer, who was distracted by another one of Talon's men. 'His fighting... it seems so... lax. He must not be taking this seriously!' This new officer seemed to be just waiting for the soldier to retaliate after striking him. Talon laughed, and caught the lord off guard, and rammed his shoulder into his side. He was thrown off of his feet, but quickly rolled back into a fighting stance. One of the opposing soldiers started to run between them, but was quickly interrupted by Talon's right fist. As soon as the metal connected with skin, a crunch was heard and the soldier shrieked with pain. Blood poured from his nose, which looked very broken.

"Your guy's face seems to have stained my glove." Talon said jokingly, pretending to look intently at it. He turned up and smiled, although he realized nothing was registering because of his helmet and the rain. He spoke more loudly, " I see you've been causing my men some trouble, am I right?" His opposition slightly changed his stance, and said nothing. "Alright. If that's how you want to be." Talon adjusted his stance as well. He quickly looked over his new opponent. 'He looks a lot shorter than I am... I must be at least a head taller. He just looks so... small.' He also quickly deduced that his opponent was more nimble than himself because of his smaller, lighter chainmail, compared to his plates. With the other soldiers distracted, he moved in.

Talon threw a quick, angled strike at his opponent, but it was parried Talon momentarily hesitate, the opposing soldier took advantage of it, and swiped at him several times with great speed. But ended up clattering off of his shield. With his last slice, his blade glanced off of Talon's right shoulder plate, then connected with his helmet with a clang. This left a sizable dent, and rocked his head sideways. Talon hit the mud, and tried to stand up as fast as he could, but the world was still shaking violently, so he ended up falling back down. Braced with his right arm, he lifted his large shield over himself to stop his impending death. But it never came. "Wh-what?" Talon helplessly gasped, and put his shield down. 'He hasn't even advanced!' Talon shakily stood up and saw his opponent looking at him, waiting.

By now, the combat around the two fighters had ceased, with all of Talon's men as the victors. All of the enemies had either been subdued, or surrendered. They stood in the rain around their own employer, knowing they shouldn't interfere with their one-on-one ordeal. Talon yanked his ruined helmet from his head, and threw it at the ground, revealing a young man in his early twenties. He had a mess of short black hair, and was cleanly shaved. His face was in a determined smirk, his dark brown eyes were staring daggers at the would-be face of his opponent. "Alright." He announced with a certain aura of confidence. "Fine." And he ripped the restraint from his breastplate, and it fell to the earth with a thud over his boot. He followed this action by pulling the guards from his wrists and shoulders quickly, and tossing them to the ground as well, then kicking them all out of the way.

Talon picked his sword up from where it lay, flicked the mud from it, and he got into his fighting stance. After a pause he took a breath and said arrogantly, "Well? Are you ready? I sure as hell am." As soon as he had finished speaking, the enemy spun into another flurry of strikes with his shortsword. Talon was stopping them much more easily, without his armour. Block after block, his opponent continued the barrage of attacks. 'Damn, this guy is still going full speed! Where did this guy -come- from?' Talon thought, almost frantically. 'How have I never heard of him!' Talon tried to back off slightly, but the attacks kept coming. A few made it past his defenses and thumped him on the chest or arm, but they did no real damage other than bruising. There was finally a slowdown in his enemy's attacks, and Talon saw it immediately, and opened up his own offensive.

His attacks were the same story as when he was defending. The defender was blocking almost everything thrown at him. He finally clipped his opponent in the leg, making him stumble, and be braced himself on his hands and knees. As he started to stand again, Talon thrust his knee into his opponent's gut, hearing a light "Ooof!" and he fell onto his back. Talon took a step and kicked at the enemy's helmet, but he sat up to dodge it and swung his sword at Talon, making him back away to escape his blade. With that short moment, he was back on his feet. 'I've never seen anyone like this before...' Talon gaped at the officer, though slightly calming down. 'Where could he be from? The Nords? Swadia? Or even... a recently established kingdom?' Talon backed up slightly, keeping his sword at ready. "Tell me. Who are you?" He asked sternly. The lord did not respond. "Come on. Say something. Where'd you come from?" The man across from him did nothing. He stood stock still in the rain, watching Talon.

Talon scoffed, his anger flaring up again, "Alright then, I'm up for another around!" and he, soaked in sweat and rain, stepped forward, and his opposition did the same, and they both went on the offensive. Trading hit for hit in a flurry of movement in which the observers could barely follow. After a series of unsuccessful swipes, Talon decided to disarm the enemy. He pulled back, and and smashed the broad side of his sword against his unnamed enemy's, and it flew several yards from his hand, and landed in the mud. Talon's opponent watched as his sword flew away from him, and so our warrior kicked with all of the strength he had left and swiped his opponent's feet out from under him, and he landed in the mud at his feet. 'He's definitely finished now.'

Talon used both hands to raise his sword above his head to deliver the killing blow. A thought ran though his head. 'Who is this guy? I should ask if he wants to join me before I do this... Oh, it doesn't matter!' In his fatigue, the soldier on the ground pushed himself upwards and slammed his fist into Talon's abdomen. To Talon, it felt like a solid metal hammer smashing his guts into paste, and he gagged. Bent over, clutching himself with his now-free left hand, and he felt a knee clap is jaw shut, almost severing his tongue, and he fell backwards, mouth bleeding.

The lord walked over Talon's legs and stepped on his chest with his full weight, which was surprisingly not very much, but was still enough to knock the wind out of him yet again. He used his back foot to stomp on Talon's right wrist, making him free the sword. He bent down to pick it up, but stayed down after he held it. He hissed in Talon's face, almost inaudibly, "You want to know who I am...?" Talon laughed weakly in the facemask of his opponent, and he gasped, "No? Really?" he coughed up what he thought was a tooth, "I was just asking for no reas-aah!" His arm was stomped on again. The lord leaned in again. "Then you're going to love this." the words still almost drowned out by the rain.

The soldier stood up, and pointed the blade downwards. Talon closed his eyes, fearing what was to come. He heard the -SHINK- of the blade piercing... He opened his eyes slowly, and saw it was through his loose shirt, and into the ground. Talon sighed in relief, but the lord bent down again, "Admit your defeat to me, and to the others." Talon was confused by the question. "But... isn't it obvious?" He was startled by a fist crushing the ground next to his head. "Admit it. To your men. -Now." His voice still in a slow, breathy whisper. 'Whatisthepointofthis?' Talon thought. 'Whyisthis... Oh, fine. WhyshouldIgetmyselfkilledoverthis?' "I-. Ahem." He turned to the onlooking crowd of his own men. "Hey guys. In case you didn't hear, he wants me to admit defeat to everyone. Got it? I lost." He turned back. "Happy? I still don't see the point in this."

The lord leaned up once again. "You will." He said, in a slightly louder, but very light tone. He stood up straight and walked away from him. He whistled and after a delay, a horse came running up from over a hill a short ways off. He laughed, and it sounded, over the increasing rain, very... feminine.

Talon's face drained of its color, and his breath caught in his chest.

The lord dropped their gloves, and unstrapped their helmet.

'No... F**king... Way...!'

The lord removed her helmet, revealing a head of blonde, shoulder length hair, and put it in her horse's saddlebag. She laughed again, and turned around to face Talon.

Talon gazed into the attractive young woman's striking green eyes. She, no older than himself. 'I don't believe it! A woman... A girl!' She saw his look, and finally spoke. "You fell for it. I hid myself well, didn't I?" He was incredulous. His jaw dropped, and his face changed from deathly white, to red. "I- that's-!" He stammered in anger, and he tried to stand, only to remember he was pinned to the ground by his own sword. The woman stepped into the stirrup of her horse's saddle, and taunted, "Don't hurt yourself." She gave a toothy grin, "Get it now? You lost to a lady." Talon was beyond furious. That comment was salt in his wounded pride. "Well," she continued. "I doubt this is the last time we meet, so maybe we can have a rematch. Don't stress yourself about it, okay big guy? See you on the battlefield." She steered her horse around, and rode away.

Ending note: Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it. I don't expect a lot of traffic around this part, but if there happens to be some, please review, and tell me if you want any more, and I'd be more than happy to provide as soon as possible. As I said above, this story's pretty much written. Or if you don't like it, feel free to tell me it's terrible and you hate it. I will read any criticism you give (if it's constructive) and I probably will not post the second chapter. Who knows, I might try again sometime?



Misc notes: If you didn't understand the ending, think 'sexism'. It's like, the 13th century. ^^
Any questions you may have (within the story) will probably be answered in the next possible chapter.
If there is another chapter, the summary and rating will most likely be changed, if possible.