The Mundbyrdians knew this day would come; the Wahstrehite army circling around to the east for a surprise attack. But, the King of the West was the one caught off guard when he arrived that morning to a line of Wynsumheord’s proud defenders standing to thwart his ambush attempt.
The clashing of metal and war cries of both armies resounded all around Magnar as he strode steadfastly forward on his horse. In his heart, he knew this battle would be his last, for, The Shining Lord had shown him three visions; A great man of the house of Havardir will fall; be lost; not return home this day. He feared that great man was Syndri, hence the reason he instructed his brother to stay back in the village with Anselma and help the women, children, and weaker folk of Dryhtenhaven to hide away.
To his left, Magnar saw Phelan and Evander, skilled as always. The three knights they were currently up against stood no chance. To his right, his father was fighting alongside Ciril. Clearly, they both could hold their own. The brave warrior’s deep blue eyes continued to scan over the crowd. Where was King Sumphyr and his son? Were they too afraid to lead their own army into war? His hand tightened around the handle of his drawn sword when, suddenly, someone firmly gripped his shoulder. A few strands of golden hair shifted under the weight of Magnar’s helmet as he quickly turned his gaze to meet Jedrik.
“The visions were right,” the bigger man said enthusiastically, “Over half of the Wahstrehite Knights have already been slain. The Shining Lord has certainly delivered them into our hand.”
“Certainly so,” Magnar breathed in relief that the person who had just snuck upon him was a friend and not a foe, “For Wynsumheord, we shall finish them once and for all.”
“FOR WYNSUMHEORD!” Jedrik yelled, rearing his steed and raising his dagger into the air triumphantly before riding back off into the heat of the fight.
Magnar tried, but he could not bring himself to smile. His eyes only began searching the crowd even harder. He had to find the prince. If he would be defeated today, his mind was set on bringing Zekyn down with him.
“Son of Havardir...” he suddenly heard the Wahstrehite heir say in a patronizing voice, “Just the man I desired to see.”
“You wretched devil,” Magnar growled under his breath as the prince rode towards him with a crooked smile.
“Come down from thy steed and fight me like a man, coward,” Prince Zekyn slurred leaping down from his own mount and drawing his rapier.
“I am no coward,” Magnar said with a frown, heaving himself down and pointing his sword accusingly at the prince.
Zekyn laughed, throwing a sudden jab at Magnar.
“You are the coward, Zekyn,” Magnar grunted, meeting the prince’s attack with his own sword, “All this time sending lackeys out to claim my life when you were too afraid to come after me on your own.”
Zekyn’s lips formed a sinister grin as he repeatedly slashed his rapier at Magnar who barred them all with keen precision. Seeing this, the prince stood back.
“Pitiful weaklings...” he chuckled, “No matter how hard you peasants fight, this land and its people will be reclaimed by their rightful king,”
“We will never surrender to you fools!” Magnar said with anger, his hefty sword slicing the air above the royal’s head before clanging loudly against Zekyn’s rapier.
“You think you’re so brave, don’t you, Son of Havardir?” Zekyn asked rhetorically, thrusting Magnar’s sword away and drawing a second rapier from his own back, “You see yourself as the savior of Wynsumheord.”
“I am only a vessel of the true Savior,” Magnar said, retrieving his shield.
Prince Zephyr angrily rushed at the Mundbyrdian again, but the oncoming slashes were impeded once more with his shield.
The sound of metal clanking grew louder and louder as the two foes continued to duel, neither of them finding an opening on their opponent, and both growing more and more furious by the moment. When one jousted, the other blocked. When one slashed, the other fell back. Prince Zephyr knelt to jab at Magnar’s legs, but the warrior jumped and swung at the prince’s head. A quick jerk of the neck on instinct saved the latter from what would have been a nasty gash. Flipping forward, he stood to his feet.
“Enough!” he screamed, holding his rapiers crossed into an X, striding towards Magnar “This ends now. YOU. End now.”
The latter held his shield up to buffer, but the prince gave a swift kick to his elbow causing his arm to falter and drop it. Magnar’s right hand brought his sword up just in time to hinder the prince’s blades from closing in on his neck. The tension built between both forces. If one of them gave way only a little, the other would most likely be sliced clean through.
“You think you can protect Wynsumheord?” the prince asked smugly, eyes watching for the anger to arise in Magnar, “You couldn’t even save your own wife who was screaming out for you as she writhed beneath me.”
This infuriating comment launched Magnar into a rage. Using all of his strength, he finally pushed Zekyn’s rapiers away from his neck. With a loud roar, he barreled towards his opponent, swinging madly, but the prince was spry enough to avoid the attacks. Blinded by his own fury, Magnar stumbled forward, missing the heir completely. Before he realized, Zekyn’s knee had made contact with his spine and he was face down on the ground. Scrambling to turn, he sat up and pulled his sword up just in time to meet what surely would have been a fatal strike. Zekyn only laughed and kicked the warrior’s arm with his armored boot sending the sword flying feet away.
“Son of Havardir, today marks your end,” he grinned, sheathing one of his rapiers and pointing the other right between Magnar’s eyes, “Any last words before you die?”
The angry Mundbyrdian took a deep breath. He knew that the prince was right. There was nothing he could do know. Zekyn began rearing back his sword, so Magnar settled upon something profound to say and opened his mouth.
Suddenly, a galloping horse rushed up behind Magnar. The prince gave a confused expression before being smacked clean across the face and knocked off his feet. Magnar, also confused, looked to see Syndri who had swept past, delivering a blow to Zekyn with his RodStaff. The lad smiled and circled back, lending a hand down to help his brother up onto his steed and whisking them away from the downed prince.
At a safe distance, Syndri stopped the horse and both the men lept off.
“Thanks for the assist,” Magnar breathed, half happy to see his brother and half worried at once, “But, I ordered you to remain in the village.”
“I know, I know,” Syndri sang, “If something happens to Anselma, you’ll kill me, surely.”
Magnar smiled weakly, but his heart broke a little. The fear of Syndri dying was the reason he told his brother to stay back. Eyeing the battle going on around them, Magnar picked up the sword and shield of a fallen knight.
“You must go back, brother,” he said.
“Back?” Syndri shook his head, “I never thought I’d see this day, but I just saved your life, didn’t I? It’s most often the other way around.”
“Yes, but I thank you for it,” Magnar laughed, “I knew you had it in you, and finally that confidence shows.”
“You’re right,” Syndri smiled, “so it’s here to stay, and I’m here to stay. By your side ’til the end.”
Magnar realized that there was nothing he could say to get his brother to go back now. This was fate, foretold by The Shining Lord.
“Brother,” Magnar said, putting a hand on the lad’s shoulder, “If something happens to me, promise to take care of father and Anselma... she is with child, so the child as well... Promise to stay strong for me and carry on no matter what happens, alright?”
Syndri’s olive eyes met his brother’s navy blues and he nodded solemnly.
“Of course I will, brother,” he said, covering the hand with his own, “And, if something happens to me, I trust you will do the same.”
Magnar couldn’t even bring himself to agree. He knew that he would not withstand Syndri’s death well at all.
“For Wynsumheord?” Syndri held up his staff into the air.
“For Wynsumheord,” Magnar said, joining his sword to his brother’s weapon before the two returned to help their fellow Mundbyrdians.