“I am no peasant,” I inform him. “I hail from the northern kingdom of Bellera. My people have no caste system. No hierarchy to divide us. Social status is quite meaningless to us. Everyone is treated as an equal and everyone learns to fight like a warrior. We are an ancient and noble race, and even though the likes of you have gone out of your way to disgrace us and mock our ways, we will never be intimidated.”
Shocked, Dathrium’s eyes grow large and one eyebrow crawls to the top of his head in an inquisitive fashion. “Ha!” he bellows. “A barbarian girl?!”
“Why do you laugh, Lord Dathrium?” I ask him. “Have I said something to amuse you?”
“Indeed,” he sneers, his nostrils flaring with disgust. “I should have guessed by your lack of etiquette that you were a mere barbarian girl. But perhaps I can teach you a thing or two about social standing, and of kneeling before your king, after I beat the insolence out of you! Then maybe, if you’re lucky, I’ll spare you the dungeon and make you one of my concubines.”
Growing up in the highlands, I was painfully aware of the prejudice against my peoples. Something which was all too common among the noble lords of all the kingdoms of Valandra. Only Valandra, the capitol, and Urhuhlin, the dwarf kingdom, traded with the northern tribes of Bellera and Yulandra. That is, until Lord Dathrium took power.
“Funny,” I say, mockingly, “that you would resort to the barbaric custom of asserting your dominance over me by confining me to a life of sexual slavery yet have the audacity to call me the barbarian. It seems the only barbarian here is you, Lord Dathrium!”
“Gah!” Lord Dathrium balks, angered by my continued defiance. “I will have your head for your insolence!”
Sure enough, he takes the bait and lunges at me, swinging wildly as he lumbers toward me.
Our swords spark and sing again with the song of fire and clashing steel. But his clumsy blows are no match for my disciplined hand, my youth, and my stamina. In fact, it is quite apparent that Lord Dathrium hasn’t had to fight any of his own battles in quite some time. Not that he’d have to with the entire Royal Guard at his disposal.
I use my sword like a staff, taking it in both hands, I thrust forward and slam it into Dathrium’s chest. He staggers back, his garish black armor rattling like old pots and pans as he tries to catch his footing.