“Defend yourself if you can little fox. I’ll make you famous,” shouted Fer Ulli, Champion of the Airgialla.
“You’ll never know the tenth part of my fame,” said CuRuada hefting his spear in an overhand grip and limbering his shield arm.
“Oh? Why is that?” scoffed Fer Ulli wading through the ford.
“You’ll not know anything beyond today.” CuRuada crouched as the big man came splashing toward him.
Fer Ulli drove his heavy headed spear hard toward CuRuada’s legs, hoping to wound him, but CuRuada knocked it away easily even as his spear dug a furrow in Fer Ulli’s shield. The two men traded blows, each catching and diverting the other’s blows as they churned the water of the ford to brown mud.
Fer Ulli was the older of the two by far, so as the battle continued, and he could not get his spear past the boy’s shield to wound him, the shrewd champion attacked less and sought to conserve his strength for an opening. Using his bulk he worked CuRuada into a deeper place in the ford, hampering his movements. Fer Ulli feinted weakly with his spear and CuRuada struck it aside with more power than was needed. Fer Ulli seemed to follow that weak jab, staggering and exposing his side. CuRuada lunged and his spearhead grated along the rings of the champion’s mail. Suddenly CuRuada was reeling from a shield edge smashed against his head on the way to striking his arm and carrying away his spear with his balance.
Fer Ulli pressed his advantage, thrusting again and again, but CuRuada’s momentary unbalance was gone. Now with his short sword in hand, CuRuada began to press the older man. Fer Ulli should have had an advantage in range with his spear, but CuRuada, angered now, seemed able to slip past Fer Ulli’s guard at will and his sword cuts were telling.
Worse yet, as Fer Ulli’s strength ebbed with each cut, flowing away like his blood on the river, CuRuada seemed to strengthen and his anger seemed to grow.
To look on him now was a fearsome thing. Where Fer Ulli had struck the young man was a deep bruise that had nearly closed his eye, but around the purple his face was almost as dark a red as the purple of the bruise. While one eye squinted the other gaped wide with madness. The boys hair stood on end like his name sake, and he now moved with animal quickness.
Gasping, Fer Ulli tried his best to defend himself. CuRuada’s attacks seemed more like the maddened onslaught of a rabid animal than a warrior. Then, for a moment, CuRuada seemed to slip and Fer Ulli tried to gather the last of his reserves. He let his shield drop low and reared back to attempt a fight finishing thrust. Too late, for CuRuada was already erupting from the water. The feat was the Salmon Leap and last thing Fer Ulli ever saw was the arching body of his nemesis above him before the edge of CuRuada’s shield tore his shoulder from it’s socket and his sword found its way down beside his neck, through muscle and bone to find his heart.