The vicious, metallic clashes of blade against blade rang throughout the Great Hall, filling the expansive room with the harsh cry of swords striking their opponent. Two figures seemed to move together in a deadly dance across the marble floor of the Hall as their blades encountered and drew away, every movement calculated and carefully planned. One false step or weak slash would certainly mean defeat.
“Aleol, I swear this is the last day you shall ever defy me!” the taller of the two shouted as he pulled his jagged weapon upwards to meet the descent of his foe. His words dripped with malice, his voice deadly steady and sharp.
The other man smirked broadly as he twisted his sword away, gracefully stepping backwards. “Eldest brother, you truly are a fool if you believe that this is my final day!” Never missing a single beat, Aleol stooped low to avoid a reckless blow from his brother, then quickly aimed a solid kick to his enemy’s boots, buying him time to rise. “I do not intend on dying on this glorious afternoon, Kavuto.”
Kavuto’s dark eyes flashed with a fiery hatred as he calmly replied, “No one intends on it, little Aleol.” With renewed fervor, the older of the two swordsmen stabbed an accurate jab towards Aleol, but the smaller man spun swiftly out of harm’s way. The only damage that Kavuto’s blade inflicted was a long slit down Aleol’s navy cloak. The elder brother released a loud shout of frustration, which echoed throughout the Great Hall.
“Look what you have caused, Kav. Mother will be most upset when she finds out that you have ruined my royal cloak!” With a deep, entertained laugh, Aleol turned from his brother before sprinting towards the massive throne ruling the end of the room.
He faced Kavuto once more, brandishing his thin sword as he spoke. “Dear brother,” Aleol began mockingly, “I stand before Father’s throne. However, how long will it remain his seat of power? And when our king has passed on to the Isles to welcome death, who shall claim this great throne as his own?”
Growling, Kavuto watched as his younger brother cockily reclined into the king’s rich throne, crossing his legs casually. “Aleol, how dare you taint that symbol of strength with your foolishness? When I am king and have claimed the throne, I do not want to remember that your royal as-“
“Now, now, Kav. There is no need to use such crude language,” Aleol interrupted, running his free hand through his flaxen curls. He smirked at his obviously angered brother as he leaned back in the large seat.
Kavuto gripped the hilt of his jagged sword, scowling at Aleol’s words. “A thousand apologies, little prince.” He bowed scathingly to the young man. “I meant, as I sit upon my throne as ruler I do not want to remind myself that your royal…” He searched for the right words. “rear,” the elder prince decided, “has blemished this perfect kingly symbol.”
Aleol cracked a smile, then uncrossed his legs. Leaning forward, he responded, “You never change, brother.”
In a few long strides, Kavuto reached his brother with no hint of amusement evident in his features. Instead, a very unamused glower was painted on his face as the oldest prince pointed the tip of his blade menacingly at Aleol’s exposed throat. “What is that even supposed to mean?” Kavuto rumbled.
Hiding his smile, Aleol said, “I do not know; I thought it dramatic.” With a quick flick of his sword, he removed his brother’s threatening weapon from his throat, then hopped up to a standing position on the seat of the throne. Aleol looked down at Kavuto, readying his long blade. “Let us return to our duel.”
“Yes, let’s.” Kavuto tauntingly slashed upwards at his opponent’s torso, missing Aleol’s chest by a mere hair width. “To the death, my brother? The winner claims Father’s throne!”
“Aye!” Aleol hurdled over the throne’s armrest to avoid his rival, and as soon as his boots touched the dark marble floor of the Great Hall, he turned to confront his sibling once more. He placed his sword in a defensive position, preparing for Kavuto’s strike.
The oldest prince lunged to his foe, stabbing frontwards fiercely. Aleol attempted to parry the assault but Kavuto, although more reckless, was much stronger and quicker, so was able to catch the younger man’s blade and wrench it out of his enemy’s hand. Aleol’s sword clattered to the ground with a final metallic ring of defeat, sliding out of its owner’s grasp across the smooth ground.
Kavuto advanced leisurely towards his prey, smirking in victory, his eyes gleaming with an almost evil satisfaction. “Al, I have bested you once more,” he stated, stalking around Aleol, examining the fair-haired prince. “Defeat is so sweet when I force it upon my foe.”
Aleol sighed. “It is such a shame that you haven’t truly won this clash yet, and you are already boasting.”
Immediately after replying, Aleol unsheathed a knife from his gem encrusted belt, and struck a very surprised Kavuto in the right shoulder, embedding the small blade there. The eldest prince howled in agony and dropped his sword, shock filling his features. Aleol took this chance to release his grip on the knife before scooping up his brother’s sword, scrutinizing his opponent as he switched weapons. Kavuto fell to his knees, before pulling the bloodstained knife from his shoulder in a grimace of pain.
Breathing heavily, Kavuto gazed angrily up to his sibling, astonishment and embarrassment plaguing the older swordsman’s eyes as Aleol aimed Kavuto’s own crooked weapon at his throat. “Ah, brother. You surprised me,” Kavuto croaked as his Adam’s apple scraped against the sword tip.
Aleol stood tall, becoming the victor of the duel. He continued to point his enemy’s sword to Kavuto’s throat. Pressing harder into Kavuto’s skin, the younger brother said menacingly, “Defeat is so sweet when I force it upon my foe. Now, prepare for death, Kav!” Aleol glowered at the kneeling form of Kavuto, adrenaline once more swelling up inside of him.
Kavuto returned the deadly, heated glare, matching his brother’s sadistic stare as if daring the younger man to make a move.
Suddenly, Aleol broke into a broad grin, and released the laughter he had been storing throughout the duration of the duel. He pulled the sword back from Kavuto’s throat then offered his dear brother a hand, helping the other man up. Kavuto began smiling too, momentarily ignoring the pain pulsing through his shoulder as he clapped his brother on the back.
“Well done today, Al,” he said between chuckles. “You really got me with that knife.”
Aleol laughed some more, eyeing his sibling fondly. “Indeed I did. But I will bandage your wound for you once we speak with Mother, if you would like.”
“Al, I might bleed to death before then!” Kavuto chortled playfully, nudging the other man in the ribs.
Once they had gathered their weapons, the two princes strode through the Great Hall, preparing to leave after their good-humored battle. Aleol cast a brief backward glance towards the king’s massive throne dominating the opposite side of the long room. He released an inaudible sigh.
“That was quite enjoyable, beloved brother. Same time tomorrow?”
“Aye, dear Kav.”