The two men cross the room to the large table, the Keeper grabs the edge of the red table cloth and whips it off revealing a multitude of weapons. Each man looks them over carefully, Throne chooses first, lifting a small knife and while the Keeper knows he can have his pick, he too chooses a small knife. They return to the center of the room and shake hands before distancing themselves and preparing to fight, before they can move Alex steps between them. “To the Gods-”
“Get out of here Alexander.” The Keeper snaps and glares, the knight regards him quietly.
“I must preform the last rights, Keeper.” He takes a deep breath before continuing.
“I wave my last right, let my soul go where it may.” the Keeper interrupts again.
“If Alex wants to preform the last rights then he will.” Maggie steps in “Or would you argue with me as well, Jacob?”
“Fine, do it if you must.” he grumbles, Alex nods.
“To the Gods I commend your spirits for the one that dies today will die with honor and pride having met his enemy. To the gods I call out, protect the true warrior and allow justice to by served. In the name of the creator I send these words to heavens, in the name of the protector I send these words into the sacred halls, in the name of destroyer I send these words to darkest depths of the underworld. I will pray for you both.” With those final words Alex steps out of the way and the two men look at each other once again.
“Any last-” The Keeper starts but Throne has had enough of talking and lunges for his throat. The Keeper side steps and turns to counter but Throne is not there. The bandit watches the older man carefully, seeing weakness with every passing moment. With a smirk Throne lunges again, knife just barely missing its target. The Keeper steps back again, heart racing and sweat beginning to bead on his forehead. Throne wastes no time in launching another attack, using his speed to get close the Keeper. His knife swings down but only clips the king’s arm as it rises up to block the attack. With a violent shove Throne sends the Keeper tumbling back only to be on him in an instant, ripping away the Keeper’s only weapon then throwing it across the room. The Keeper closes his eyes and waits for the death blow.
The final blow does not come though, instead a jaw shattering hit, then another and another. The Keeper takes the hits passively, allowing Throne to drain his own energy with the strikes. Throne’s hand aches and his body screams for him to stop, without further hesitation he raises his knife intent on ending it. Before it can be brought down the Keeper shifts, using his bulk to force Throne off of him. The knife skitters away and the men grapple, both exhausted and in pain from the blows just moments before but the Keeper gets the upped hand.
He snatches the knife from the floor and pins down the bandit, using his legs to pin the others arms and sitting on his chest keeping him from breathing. “You are nothing to this world, Throne.” He manages through the aching in his face. “I’ll end you and you’ll be forgotten. Its so simple. I don’t how my men failed me so badly.” Throne’s eyes widen and he struggles to no avail.
“I will drag you to the underworld with me.” He hisses when it seems like struggling is futile.
“You keep telling yourself that Alphonso. After this I’m going to end the rest of the people in this room, and enjoy your throne for many more years.” He raises the blade high and Throne closes his eyes, a great sense of failure washing over him as he waits for death.
Alex and Maggie watch quietly, almost uninterested Alex crosses to the table and starts softly touching the many blades and bludgeoning tools. He slowly makes his way around the table, picking up one blade only to drop it and lift another, his attention only turns back to the fight when the Keeper begins talking again. With a frown he lifts a short sword and quietly crosses to the fighters, standing so close but unnoticed by both men. The Keeper raises his blade, only for Alex to grab hold of his wrist and plunge the short sword into him drawing a loud screech from the man as the former knight rips the blade out and pulls the knife from his hand. Throne looks up at Alex, stunned before shoving aside the bleeding, barely alive king and rising. “Why did you do that?”
“I wasn’t going to let you lose.” Alex shrugs and drops the short sword.
“But the gods, your honor!” Throne protests.
“They’ll forgive me and my honor is undamaged as far as I can tell.” Alex turns to walk away, Throne grabs his arm and steps in front of him.
“Thank you, Alex.” He pulls the knight into a tight hug. “For everything, thank you.” The knight hesitantly returns the gesture while Maggie averts her eyes, giving them some privacy. When they pull apart they look to the former Keeper.
“What are you going to do?”
“Take back my throne. Lift warrants, change the tax laws… Be the king this place needs”
“Some won’t accept you, you know.”
“Yeah, but I have you, and I’ll have the rest of my merry band. Peace will come, maybe slowly but it will.” Alex nods and Maggie walks over.
“So… I guess my jobs done?” She looks hopeful “Cause I don’t know how long I’ve been gone but I would like to go home.”
“I would say its done,” Throne begins slowly “But I don’t know how to send you home.” Maggie blinks, stunned.
“What! Then… Then who does! I can’t stay here!” She sputters “I need to go home!”
“I’m sorry, Miss Maggie.” Throne pats her shoulder softly “We will try to make your life here a happy one.”
“But…” Maggie pulls away, tears welling up “I want my mom… I want to go home… I have friends back there, a life…”
“Forgive us, Miss Magnolia.” Alex smiles softly “But we must be selfish and keep you here. Surely we can be a substitute.”
“You don’t understand!” The tears roll down her cheeks and she turns away from the men “I was so mean to her… I have to say sorry… I can’t stay here… please… there has to be someone that can send me home.” The men exchange looks then look back her, the silence is the only answer she needs to understand that she is not returning home anytime soon.