He knew how to use the sword. He’d been practicing since he was old enough to hold one, and with a wooden sword not all that different from this one – except his had been pine and then apple-wood, not, as he hoped this one was, rowan.
Knowing how to hold the thing probably saved his life, or at least his virtue. These creatures were nasty, violent, and far rougher and stronger than anything Pyry had ever seen, much less fought.
Desirée, on the other hand, was an astonishing fighter. If he hadn’t been busy ducking punches and swinging balls of thorns, Pyry would have been amazed. She ducked and wove and jumped, using the walls, the ceiling, the bar, and the floor all as landing surfaces, taking one troll’s head clean off with a long swing of a sickle-like blade and injuring the second one on the back swing. She was doing all right for herself until the third guy grabbed the chain of her weapon and yanked.
Pyry manged to avoid getting hit by her by tucking under the table, but it looked as if she was stunned. The rhino-like troll in front, the one whose arm she’d banged up, was going straight for her. He was going to hurt her. He was going to mess up Des’ lovely skin.
Pyry didn’t think, he charged, head down, sword held in a guard position. He plunged forward as fast as he could, determined to gore the troll before he got to Des.
His horn went into the thing’s chest as the creature grabbed his sword arm, wrenching his wrist and slamming his hand against the wall. But the horn was already in, piercing the thing’s heart. Pyry tossed his head, sending the horn deeper, and thought about piles of shit and piles of hay.
The man screamed. Screamed, screamed, and screamed some more. He grabbed Pyry, trying to dislodge him, but the horn appeared stuck, and his hands skidded off of Pyry’s skin.
He couldn’t see anything but the creature’s stinking shirt, but that began to smolder and smoke, and his forehead was getting uncomfortably warm. The thing kept slapping ineffectually at Pyry, kept swearing, kept screaming, backing up until he ran into something, then scrambling up onto the bar, pulling Pyry with him.
His screams slowed, turned into whimpers, and then from whimpers into tiny moans. “Gods,” he muttered, “thirteen fled gods. Save me. Save me…. shit.”
With a pop, Pyry’s horn pulled out, and he fell to the floor. His arm was broken, but he hauled his sword back into block position anyway.
He could have saved himself the trouble. Des and her opponent had both stopped, staring at the troll on the counter.
At the man on the counter, much smaller, much paler, swimming in his clothes, who had fallen into a position of prayer and was whispering over and over again “i’ll do better, I’ll do better. I’ll be good. I’ll follow the Law, Gods, please don’t forsake me.”
Pyry felt his mouth curl into a feral grin as he turned towards the blue one. “Your turn.”
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