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From the current work in progress –


The brigand looked back over his shoulder.  Duncan saw the same sight—most of the brigands had been taken down by the caravan guards, several of whom were moving toward the confrontation at the crest of the road.  The brigand turned to face Duncan with a look of pure desperation on his face.  He picked up a short broad-bladed sword from where he had dropped it and ran toward Duncan with a wordless shout of rage.

By now Duncan had his own blades in hand.  The brigand’s charge was brought to a quick stop when he found his sword bound by Duncan’s sword and Duncan’s big fighting knife aimed for his gut.

Unlike his horsemanship, the brigand’s blade work was competent; with his desperation and rage fueling it, it may even have been better than that.  Certainly he was able to press Duncan for the first several clashes.  The thought crossed Duncan’s mind during the fight that if the man had had a longer blade, prospects concerning their fight might have been a bit more uncertain.

Several of the caravan guards had approached and were drawn up behind the brigand, watching.  “Quit playing with him,” Thimoi called out.

“Take . . . you . . . with me!” the brigand snarled in between gasps for air.

“No,” Duncan said, “no, you won’t.”  With that, he unleased four swift moves that ended with his fighting knife buried to the hilt in the man’s chest.