William walked toward the rock outcropping where the duel would be held. It did have a nice flat center area where they could fight. Other than that, William debated its status as an ‘optimum’ location. The armies would barely be able to observe the duel because of how the boulders stood up and covered most of the sides. It was also on the same side of the valley as Lord Herrera’s army. On the other hand, if the army actually moved toward William it would be easy to spot it. He wasn’t particularly worried about that possibility.
“You’re late.” Lord Herrera snapped when William came into view.
“Am I?” William raised an eyebrow, “I don’t recall setting a specific time, and I didn’t want to miss breakfast. Besides, I had to walk much further than you did.” William looked over Lord Herrera. This was the first time he had seen him from up close. As was typical of gevai lords, he wore heavy armor- magically enchanted as well. He wielded a spear, which was a very solid weapon. It was also inlaid with many designs, but William couldn’t tell exactly what sort of enchantments it would have without looking more closely.
“Let us start!” Lord Herrera exclaimed, then lowered his spear. He lunged forward and thrust toward William, who merely sidestepped.
William did bring up Chris to block the sideways sweep of the spear. Though it wouldn’t be as dangerous as being hit with the tip, he wasn’t going to let himself be hit so easily.
Lord Herrera made good use of his spear’s reach, keeping William at bay while occasionally thrusting at him. He avoided overextending, so William could only circle around. He occasionally tried to move forward, but Lord Herrera merely took a similar number of steps back. He was swift, even in full armor.
Then he began to chant, and William could see mana gathering toward his spear. William admired his concentration to be able to do that while engaged in melee combat. It did cause him to slip up slightly, allowing William to strike him a few times. However, without his full effort behind each hit, William found he had little effect against the armor.
The effects of the magic soon became obvious even to anyone without the ability to see mana or discern its effects. The head of the spear was a glowing red-hot. Normally that would weaken its structural integrity, but William guessed that some of the magical enchantments helped with that.
Even when the spear brushed past him, it was uncomfortably hot. William had to take great care to make sure it didn’t touch him. Even so, it was hard to avoid completely. Once it approached close enough to his robes, he felt the heat and vaguely sensed the strain on the magical enchantments of his robe. He thought he even smelled the slight scent of burning, though that might have just been the spearhead itself.
He also had to block with Chris, but that turned out better than it might have. As long as he kept his grip away from the spear, there were no issues. A normal staff might have charred, or at least heated up… but William noticed no difference in Chris’ temperature.
William continued to circle, dodge, and parry. Occasionally, he would step forward to attack. As he did so, Lord Herrera stepped back and to the side as well… until his back ran into one of the boulders. William parried with the center of his staff, hands separated, then held the spear away from him as he moved forward. Lord Herrera couldn’t withdraw his spear because of the boulder behind him. He tried to swing it up and over, but William merely moved his hands with it.
William kicked out at Lord Herrera with an attack meant to rattle him around inside his armor, but as he got in close Lord Herrera grinned. William’s kick connected, but barely moved him. He merely got forced back into the rock behind him. Lord Herrera still wasn’t willing to give up his grip on his staff, so William continued with another kick. The second kick was taken in a better stance, and the force of the blow wasn’t able to be absorbed by movement with Lord Herrera’s back directly against the boulder.. It wouldn’t seriously injure him through armor, but as it connected Lord Herrera frowned.
There was a blur as William shifted his grip on Chris, bringing him down, around to swing into the side of Lord Herrera’s knee. The force of the blow knocked him over, but still would cause little damage through magical armor. Even so, William grinned. “What, worried that your assassins haven’t done anything? Don’t worry about them.”
From a prone position, a spear was useless. Lord Herrera finally let go of his spear, and at the same time brought his arms up to block. There was a clanging sound of crystal on metal, and Lord Herrera’s arms trembled at the force of the blow.
He tried to kick out William’s legs but William merely took the chance to jump onto his stomach, bringing the staff ringing down on the top of his helmet. When he grabbed for the easy to reach legs, his fingers got struck for the attempt.
He roared in rage as he rolled onto his front and tried to push himself to his feet, but William’s staff swept under him. There was the normal ringing sound, but also the horrible cracking sound of an elbow breaking.
The battle continued as such until a few minutes later when William wiped sweat off his forehead. Though he was only mildly scorched and bruised, he had depleted much of his physical stamina. Even so, he still had plenty to pick up the body at his feet and throw it out of the outcropping. Then he went around and did the same for the other half-dozen bodies that were hidden among the outcroppings. He stood there with one foot on Lord Herrera’s body, waiting for a reaction from the army.