one swift motion, Mancuso flung his cloak at those just behind him and
lunged at those before him. His blade grew hot with a bright amber
edge. LaSor was no
ordinary blade; it had a heritage older than Cah Bel and came from
unknown origins. It could slice through steal and stone as easily
as through flesh.
first Shadow Knight to come toward him must have known of LaSor’s
history, for as soon as he saw the amber edge he dodged rather than
parried Mancuso’s first slice. Mancuso’s jab glanced to the
but using this momentum he ducked to one knee swung around with other
leg outstretched and tripped this knight. As the knight fell back
he tried to balance his fall with a stone bench. Mancuso sliced
up through the bench leg. It crumbled and Mancuso kicked it on top of the
knight ... one knight down, for the moment.
no time to rest, another knight used a bench to jump high into the air
and landed right behind Mancuso. He did not land right, and in
the moment it took him to catch his balance, Mancuso, still low to the
ground, kicked up. The blow landed squarely in the knight’s
gullet. The man’s hands went to his chest gasping for air.
He stumbled back and fell over the bench he had just jumped over.
The dull thud of his head hitting the stone pavement told Mancuso he
would not have to worry about this one ... two down.
had to remind himself that his goal was to repel, disarm, and question
these men, not kill them.
jumped up seeing two more coming at him swords ready. Apparently they
had not heard about LaSor. Mancuso took full advantage of this
ignorance as the two knights took up a dual ambush position, a standard
tactic of the Shadow Knights. They depended upon out-numbering and
out-maneuvering their prey taking every dirty opportunity they could to
claim a victory. “Not
very honorable,” Mancuso mumbled. “I have no
qualms teaching you a lesson in manners.”
LaSor came down across the first man’s blade they locked for a split
second. LaSor instantly glowed white hot as if in anger.
Then, to the astonishment of the Shadow Knight, his blade split asunder
into a shower of a thousand sparks. The shock of the blast blinded
the unprepared knight who dropped the blackened hilt and stepped back
holding his eyes in pain.
wasting the momentum, Mancuso continued to swing around and catch the
other knight unprepared. Instead of bringing the full force of the
still white hot edge against his opponent’s blade, he used the flat
side of LaSor to deliver a shocking blow. This with a twisting
flick of his wrist ripped the knight’s sword from his numbed hand and
sent it flying into the air. The knight watched it as it flipped
end over end and started
its way back down again. He did not remember seeing it hit the ground
but saw only darkness and would wake hours later with a welt the size of
LaSor’s ruby on his left temple ... three and four down.
next knight held back a little further seeing what just happened to his
... you’re a real Firesmyth,” he sputtered.
Mancuso just smiled and bowed gracefully.
that he was alone ... the knight ran.
What about six? Mancuso turned and looked. No one else
around except for the ones he already vanquished. “But I saw
six,” he muttered. “Where is the leader and,” he wondered
with dread, “where is the chest.”
a moan the blinded Shadow Knight blinked and started to regain sight
only to see a blur of Mancuso rushing him. The knight shifted
his weight to a ready stance but it was too late and he felt his legs
sweep out from under him. The ground impacted with a thud that
knocked his breath out. He opened his eyes only to look down at a
glowing blade beneath his chin.
sent you?” asked Mancuso pressing the flat tip against his chin.
his pain the fallen knight replied only with a look of silent defiance.
must be someone who you fear more than death. Who?”
knight looked at him through narrowed eyes and hissed, “Someone you
Mancuso replied shaking his head, “someone I pity. Now how did
you know of my coming?”
you think my master would know the hour and place of your return?”