Rise of Nations

Shall we dance?

Pavel teaches his date the Finlanian Two-Step

His breathing labored, the young monk staggered back into a defensive position and glared at his opponent, still swaying seductively and humming a hypnotic chant a few steps away. He watched her with a ‘soft eye’ as he had been taught, knowing her position at all times without looking directly at her. He made a mental note to teach this trick to the others…if they got out of this mess alive.

He glanced over at Rallo and Sofiya. Both seemed content to watch her simple undulation- Rallo’s hands were clasped politely behind his back. He NEVER does that, Pavel thought. Somewhere behind him, Fin’s axe connected with hard stone, reminding him that he was not alone in this battle.

He shouted over his shoulder at the stairwell:

“Johannes,” he said, doing his best not to sound desparate, “we could sure use your help up here.”

“You know- I think that I’ll stay down here for a while,” his cohort answered calmly.

Pavel hazarded a glance at her again and noticed the smug little smirk on her lips. She didn’t seem worried in the least. Well- why should she be?, he thought, that last strike had enough Ki behind it to stagger an ogre and she shook it off like he was an annoying house pet.

Summoning Ki to his left hand, he moved back into an attack stance and spoke to her once more.

“Our first date isn’t going as well as I’d hoped.”

“Nor for me,” she smiled. Her teeth were covered in blood. Pavel’s blood.

Somewhere behind him he could hear Fin grunting, fighting, engaged with that Elven…thing. Between swings he heard Fin say something:

Dance with her, Lad.

Although his keen ears picked up the words, he was too focused on his next attack to glean their meaning. Once again, he poured himself into a flurry of blows, attempting to reel her with the first one. His limbs were a blur, moving almost faster than he could think. Somewhere in the moment he could feel the cartilage of her nose crack and saw her fangs narrowly miss his wrist, as if it were happening in slow motion.

Then…nothing. Once again, a strike that could have felled a tree landed solidly and all he had to show for it was a trickle of blood from her nose. What IS this thing? Pavel could feel himself beginning to panic. He heard Fin’s voice once more, calm but insistent:

DANCE with her, lad. Show her how you DANCE.

Finally, Pavel understood. He altered his stance a bit and gained a smug little smile of his own. This has GOT to work, he thought. Or we’re all done for.

Hips still oscillating, she wiped the blood from her face and her smile disappeared.

“I grow tired of this game,” she hissed, “time for you to di…”

Pavel spotted his opening. Before she could finish the sentence, he stepped in and locked his elbow over hers, kicking her ankle to the side to unbalance her. The surprise on her face was priceless.

“First…” he whispered.

“Let’s dance.”



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