Bazhur Khan enters the stables, the tracks outside leading him to the understanding that things were not as they appeared. Whether by treachery or confusion, the stranger that had been left in the stables with the elf had been wounded, rushing outside and announcing the elf’s escape from captivity.
Bahzur walks over to where the elf had been standing with Rabe a moment before; looking around on the ground nearby he sees no obvious signs of a struggle. Instead he sees the horse tracks leading out of the two stalls and out of the stable entrance. He also sees Rabe’s tracks leading outside of the entrance, and another set of tracks, which appear to lead near the back of the stables among the stacks of hay.
Bazhur smiles to himself, closing the gates to the stables and drawing his blade and axe.
“Did you know, elf, that in my land even the condemned are shown hospitality? The flesh may commit sins, yes, sadiiq. But the soul will one day return to the world; perhaps even into the body of a loved one, ally, or friend. Because of this, one must show generosity, even to one’s enemies. It is why I gave you water, even though my blades were ever more thirsty for your blood.”
He stands near the center of the stables.
“You have but to slay me to gain your freedom. I will not call out for the others, elf. If you slay me, you may easily don my cloak and escape unseen from this town. These men will not be able to track you without my aid. Slay your last human this day, and know freedom once more.”
After closing the doors and issuing his challenge, he hears nothing for a long moment. The stable is only dimly illuminated by the lanterns hanging on posts on eitheer side of the building. After a moment of uncomfortable silence, he finally sees the elf step from behind the hay stacks in the back and come forward a few steps. He stands in front of the Calishite holding only a dagger.
“Would you at least alllow your opponent his sword or would you claim an honorable combat by defeating one only armed with a dull edged dagger?
The elf’s sword had been taken from him, and it was stowed in the cart in the corner of the stables. The hilt of the sheathed blade stood out from the wares, gleaming in the dim light of the dust-filled stables.
Bazhur nods towards the elf, taking the blade by the hilt, locking his scimitar under it and giving it a toss towards him.
“May I know the place where you wish to be buried, elf? Perhaps a brother or a wife who will wish to claim you after our business. I give my word that it shall be done.”
Bazhur enters a defensive stance, bowing to the elf as he approaches his blade.
The elf calmly walks up and retrieves his longsword, unsheathing it and tossing the scabbard and his dagger aside. He grabs the sword and takes step towards the southerner.
“You cannot hope to win this, human. Allow me to leave and your life will be spared. This is your last chance.”
Bazhur simply stands his ground, allowing his eyes to stand as proof of his intentions.
The elf lunges forward, his blade held high; his feet quickly covering the distance between himself and his Calishite foe – much more quickly than the human had expected.
Bazhur’s axe and blade rose to meet the attack, slicing through the air just beneath the elf’s own blade. The axe met home, cutting deeply into the elf’s shoulder, just below the collar bone. Flesh and bone gave way to steel, although the elf’s momentum still carried him towards the door – and towards freedom.
Bazhur Khan invoked the spirits of fury, pivoting on his heel and following through with his scimitar. The curved blade of fine southern steel found its mark on the elf’s side, slicing across the bottom of his ribs, and turning the elf’s arching leap sidelong. As Bazhur completed his maneuver, he brought the butt of his axe around for a blow to the back of the elf’s head, sending him tumbling to the ground.
Bazhur quickly rushes over to the elf, disarming him with his boot, and kneels over him. He places his blade to the elf’s throat, preparing to give him a merciful death, for fear he will suffer.
“Tell me of your kin, sadiiq. I would grant you the honor of returning to your home. Give me a place, and I will see it done. And may we meet as friends in the next life.”
Bazhur’s eyes convey sincerity and reassurance.
The elf looks up, the light fading from his eyes.
His body goes limp.
Bazhur makes a sign to the gods of wind, sand and fire.
“Rest now, sadiiq. The gods put us in one another’s path in this life. Perhaps it will be different in the next.”
After ensuring the elf is dead, Bazhur turns and goes to open the doors to the stables. Once they’re open, he returns to the elf, and places him in a more respectful pose, returning his blade to his hand. Bazhur then takes a horse blanket from one of the stalls and places it over him.
After saying a prayer for him, he washes himself of the elf’s blood, and cleans his weapons outside the stables on a stool, waiting for the others.
It was done…