“Black and dripping god I am weary of your ignorance!” Feerix looked angrier now than he had at any time during their actual battle. “Answer me!”
Somewhere in Freetrick’s exhausted brain, something clicked in the area responsible for remembering his classical education. “Single combat?” Then came the more recent memories of reading through court histories. “You’re going to try to succeed me.”
“I am going to disembowel you, Feerborg, before the entirety of the Dark Nobility.”
“And I am sure they will all be terribly impressed by the skills you demonstrate in doing so,” said Bloodbyrn.
Feerix seemed to consider.
“Yeah,” said Freetrick, “whatever happened to waiting until I was a worthy opponent?”
Bloodbyrn hissed in a breath as Feerix’s face snapped back into rigidity. “You have graduated from pleasant diversion to cause for alarm, my lord.” He sneered. “Congratulations.”
Freetrick tried not to let his terror show. Frantically, he dug through everything he remembered about Skrean duels. He had certainly studied them while he was trying to ban them. “Well…what if I say I won’t duel with you. What if I reject your call?”
“What if I simply extend my power and rip your bleeding heart from your chest right now, half-brother?” Gripping fingers of solidified mist pressed against Freetrick’s ribs.
“Feerix,” said Bloodbyrn, “what delusion convinces you that Feerborg is so dangerous to you?”
“You flatter your man, Bloodbyrn,” said Feerix. But he snorted, and the fatal spell relaxed. “His immediate death, while gratifying, is not important enough to give up the game I play. Tomorrow,” he glared back up at Freetrick, “we shall meet at the Arena of Mutual Dismemberment, and there, under the eyes of the assembled dark nobility of the Kingdoms of Evil, we shall have our duel.”
“Well what if I won’t participate in your game?” Only after Freetrick said it did he see Bloodbyrn’s gestures. Gibberish, he had just struck-out another of her attempts to save his life.
But Feerix only laughed. “I suppose it would be too much to expect a decent lack of cowardice on your part.” The disgust smoothed out, became…craft. “A contingency which I have, of course, planned for. You will fight me, my lord.”Feerix looked up at his helpless half-brother with a vile, leering smirk. “You will fight me, or forfeit the life of your friend Istain.”