579 Honorable Duel Part Two
⟬ Letalis Serpentia War Camp, Improvised Dueling Arena. ⟭
If a subordinate did not agree to a command, they could advise against it to their direct superior. Granted, that superior had the right to ignore any and all helpful advice. Tyoncdrius hoped that was constant, everywhere in the Realm-- maybe in all worlds.
The various factions in the camp all submitted to the generally unspoken rules followed by the warbands in the Free Nation. There, 'friendly advisory' was synonymous with 'challenging authority.'
Depending on the challenger, the response from the superior would differ. At one end, Tycon could calmly take Zenon Skyreaper's words into consideration, revising his commands at his leisure. At the opposite extreme, he could use his strongest blade technique on Sorina Capulet.
In theory, there was no shame in submitting to a stronger party. The dwarves submitted to their patriarch, Thrumondi Krakhammer. Thrumondi followed Isidor's requests without complaints. Isidor, in turn, surrendered to his hunger and general indolence.
In the cases where strength was difficult to measure, the aggrieved party had the right to trial by combat. The winner would have their request honored... or in the case of the loser's demise, the winner would succeed their position.
Such was the matter with Athena Vanzano challenging his order to raze Caeruleum.
She found the potential loss of life unacceptable on a moral level.
Tycon saw it as necessary. It would reduce the casualties taken by his forces and prevent the snake cult from collecting in meaningful numbers in the near future.
The young Frostblade was certainly powerful, at the peak of Iron-Rank... but Tycon could not carelessly dispatch her. Besides dealing a fatal strike to the snake cult as vengeance for damaging Tycon's fragile ego, the true goal of the mission was to destroy Athena's most troublesome opponent in the Holy Country.
When they succeeded, his East Charm Trading Company would continue to positively influence House Vanzano's businesses... and the Church would ensure Athena's holdings remain protected.
...Minor issues would certainly arise, but that was a problem to be considered in the future.
Tycon shook his head and sighed...
"If I had a silver piece for every time I was challenged to a duel before a major battle took place..."
#duel; Trial by Combat: Decanus Ferrutius once challenged Tycon for leadership in Chapter 213.
Tanamar, real name Athanasius Mors, tilted his head, "Yeah? How much y'think?"
Tycon pursed his lips... "I'd have two silver."
"That's not a lot, Tycon."
"It is not," Tycon frowned. "But it's rather strange that it's happened twice, no?"
Tanamar crossed his arms, "Hey... Tycon, listen. I don't suppose you could go easy on Athena, would you?"
Tycon narrowed his eyes into a glare, "Are you trying to get me killed, Athanasius?"
"Nah... I mean... Athena's gotten a lot stronger... but she's... you know."
"What?" Tycon groaned, "Stubborn? Naive? Overall unreasonable?"
"...Uh," Tanamar scratched his head. "She means well. She just... doesn't understand."
"This is going to hurt me a lot more than it's going to hurt her," Tycon rolled his eyes.
"Tycon, don't," Tanamar frowned, his gaze suddenly sharp.
Tycon sighed and clapped Tanamar on his shoulder pauldron, "I won't hurt her. If you've forgotten, this entire operation is for her benefit. I just wanted to go home."
Tanamar relaxed his shoulders and sighed... "Yeah, I know. Sorry about all this, man."
"Apology accepted," Tycon shook his head as he turned and walked away.
He stepped into the makeshift arena, drawn into the dirt.
Less than a hundred troops came to watch the duel-- most of the factions still had their preparations or were trying to get a few bells of rest before dawn.
Most of the fat raccoon gang had come to watch the festivities, carrying with them glowing stones that lit up the edge of the arena. Besides them, there were a few harpies, some of Vralkek's Titanbloods, some gnolls and Iredar.
There was a troll amidst the crowd wearing spectacles that kept looking around, as if he was lost. He wasn't a suspicious person. Tycon had seen him before-- he was a friend of Isidor's.
But why was he here? What purpose did he serve? Was he aware that the city was going to be on *fire*, the trolls' natural weakness?
Of Sol Invictus, only Tres Leches came to watch. While Pale, Zenon, and Korr expressed their intent to attend, Tycon refused, tasking Sorina to ensure that they and the others were resting properly.
Placing his white commander's full-helm on, he approached Athena until he was six paces away, "I'm ready."
Athena stood in her custom-made white suit of armor, her arms crossed, wisps of white snowflakes swirling around her feet. Her four hiltless Arcanite blades levitated over her shoulders, menacingly pointed forward.
She didn't wear her helmet. Tycon planned on scolding her for that, later.
"Draw your weapon," Athena pursed her lips, annoyance in her voice.
...Tycon measured the seriousness in the young lady's eyes.
Though he initially planned on not doing so, he summoned his curved blade in its Adamantium scabbard. Gripping it with both hands, he held it in a neutral stance in front of his waist.
Athena raised her arms, her blades rotating and rising. She spun around, punching at the air in a dance-like kata as her weapons stabbed and retracted alongside them.
They were so fast, they made high-pitched whistles.
Tycon gulped, grimacing hard beneath his helmet. Her skillful display had successfully shaken Tycon's confidence.
Athena was a hybrid Class... but it seemed her martial ability was equal or greater to his.
...The young Frostblade had both a hard work ethic and natural talent.
Conversely, Tycon... had lived for a very long time.
"I'll begin," Athena muttered.
He really wished she wouldn't.
Athena arranged her levitating blades in front of her as platforms, running up them to rise in the air.
It was a technique that Tycon had taught her.
Was she going to start with an explosive airborne attack? That would be dangerous.
Tycon lifted up his sheathed weapon, ready to deflect or block.
Athena shot her arms forward, palms pointed down towards him.
"Winds of the frozen north!" She shouted, "Spirits of wind and sky! Come to my aid-- so I can pay back this stupid instructor for throwing sand in my faaaace!!!!"
...How long was she going to be upset about that?