Beauty and Fury

“No one told me that!”  the young man said in a harsh whisper, looking out into the clearing in the forest at the beautiful woman in the crimson dress standing in the moss that covered the deep forest’s cold ground.  She was ageless and breathtaking, although she sniffed at the air like a dog.

The young man turned, his gleaming silver armor shifting noisily as he faced the three men with him.  They were all older, grizzled and battle hardened.  The oldest had lost his hair and carried the deep wrinkles of a harsh life.  Their armor was muted, caked with dirt, and dented from countless battles.

“You said I would be facing a monster, not a lady.”  he whispered again.

“We told you that a monster awaited you and one does.  That lady has killed a dozen young men.  Now do your duty and face her or your road to Knighthood ends here” the oldest man spoke.

Swallowing, the squire turned back to see she had stopped sniffing the air and now faced where they stood, peering around.  Swallowing, he stepped into the clearing and drew his blade in a shaking hand.  Chivalry called for knights to never harm a lady, yet they told him to do so.  Nervously, he approached.

The woman smiled as he drew near her bosoms, which were barely covered, heaved at the sight of a man.  He felt drawn to her, he wanted her.  He lowered his blade and walked towards her.  She said nothing, merely reaching forth a beckoning hand.

He began forward thoughtlessly,  her scent of lilac reaching his nostrils, intoxicating and beautiful.  He sped up, reaching a trot as he needed this woman.  Inside himself, something stirred.  He was chaste, and yet he burned with need.  Something was not right.

He forced himself to slow, but the bewitching smell and perfection of form still dragged him forward.  He knew something was wrong now, his every instinct screamed to run as his feet marched forward. As he got closer he saw the perfect smile was filled with razor teeth and her well manicured nails were sharp as a blade and caked with dried blood.

Straining and twisting as his feet carried him forward.  Before long he stood before her, and she moaned breathlessly.  Her razor nails sliced at the buckles holding his armor in place.  He shook and sweat formed on his brow.  Slowly he began to raise his blade, instinct screaming for him to let go, and discipline screaming for him to strike.

He jumped when his breastplate fell to the ground with a clang.  The creature – he could not call her a lady now – licked her lips with a forked snake’s tongue. Gently she ran her nails up his padding and a passionate moan escaped his lips even as the nails opened a path to his heart.  

As she pressed the nails into his chest, he began chanting the knight’s code in his head. Soon it reached his lips and deadly purpose filled his chest.  With a quick blow, he thrust his blade into the stomach of the creature and it let out a bellow, leaping back.  It crouched on all fours, back arched unnaturally, even then there was something sensual about it.

He shook the thought from his head and got into a battle stance.  The creature circled him warily.  She slashed her hand at the air and his blood dripped from her nails.  Crouching, he brought his blade around on her and struck.  Lithely she leapt away and circled, waiting until he gave her an opening.

He gave a few more slashes, none of which hit.  He knew he could not keep this up for long.  The sun beat on his armor, making him faint and the weight dragged on him.  He had to do something or he would surely perish.  The knights in the woods would do nothing until he succeeded or died.  This was his final test.

Desperately, he decided on one final gambit.  Dropping to one knee, he breathed heavily.  His head hung in exhaustion, even as he watched the creature out of the corner of his eye.  It was wary and approached slowly, but he made no move.  Finally, with a triumphant screech it leapt at him.

Kicking hard, he leaped backward as he brought a slash forth, which bisected the creature in the air.  He landed hard on his back.  Her upper half landed with a wet thud on his chest and he slapped it off with a screech.

The three elder knights came out laughing.  “You scream like a frightened child!” one yelled.

“If you would give up on your foolish chastity maybe you could have resisted her call” laughed another.  Even so, they came and slapped his shoulder and shook his hand.  Despite everything the young man smiled.  He was now a Knight and all that remained was a ceremony with the King.  He would have to have the armor repaired and polish the gleam into it for the ceremony.  He mentioned this to the others and they just called him a dandy.  The eldest said “In a year your armor will be a skin, not a trinket.  Now let’s go get some mead.  Monster killing always makes me thirsty.”

Laughing, the four walked to the path out of the forest.

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