Refusal to Fight

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The brawny brute grabbed the scrawny lad by the collar and grunted, vile breath seeping through his gritted teeth.

“The only reason Magnar won’t accept my challenge is you!” he fumed, “Tell him to fight me OR ELSE.”

“Listen, Fritjof,” Syndri strained, “My brother has no reason to fight an innocent man--”

“INNOCENT?!” Fritjof retorted.

“Perhaps innocent you are not,” Syndri smiled awkwardly, “but you have committed unto him no offense.”

Fritjof growled as he slammed Syndri against a nearby tree, causing the lad to wince.

“I said, make him fight me,” Fritjof slurred.

“I’m afraid I simply cannot do such a thing,” Syndri breathed, “My brother has a mind of his own and, with it, he does what he so chooses--”

“Make him choose!” Fritjof roared, pressing Syndri into the tree a little harder, “He always seems to listen to you.”

“I tell you this day, if I were to suggest such an illogical act, Magnar would likely believe I’d gone mad!” Syndri laughed nervously, “Besides, it is the very essence of his heart that is against such deeds. You see, he’s devoted to The Shining Lord, now. He’s put away childish things.”

Fritjof drew out his jewel-encrusted dagger by the golden handle and traced its blade along the folds of Syndri’s leather armor.

“Have you called me childish, bumbling fool?” Fritjof asked in fury, raising the dagger up to Syndri’s neck.

“No, sir. Not at all, sir,” Syndri stammered, lifting his chin, “I meant--”

Suddenly, the two men looked to a distant noise ringing through the forest. A series of footsteps and a voice calling out: “Syndri? Syndri? Where are you, brother?”

“He’s coming along quickly now,” Fritjof gasped quickly turning back to the lad, “Tell him to accept my challenge. That is all I ask of you.”

“...alright...” Syndri hesitated, “But I am sure that he will still refuse. He has grown from the lad he was long ago. He has no reason to fight you, and so he shant.”

Fritjof exhaled in disappointment, realizing that he may never fulfill his wish of challenging The Great Magnar of Dryhtenhaven. Lowering the blade away from Syndri’s throat, he sighed and turned away.

“It’s not as if he has a vendetta against you,” Syndri murmured involuntarily as Fritjof loosened his grip.

At the sound of these words, Fritjof’s eyes lit up and his fist grasped hold of the lad’s collar once again. Syndri realized his mistake, but it was too late. He despairingly gazed into the killer’s sinister eyes as he felt the blade plunge through his side.

“Thanks for the idea,” Fritjof smiled evilly, “Should have thought of it myself.”

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