Forty men and a 'field' surrounded with stands filled with hooting and hollering Lords and Ladies. Bets have been placed and a fat one has been placed on me, along with a bounty for my 'head'. The match has not even begun and I can see men all around looking at me with greed.
They will fail.
Blunted weapons as always but that won't stop me from breaking bones and spirits, if only roach could join. This Melee there are no horses allowed and it's just men on the ground, a pity. With Roach at my side in other Melees I feel like a god riding the field dropping skilled knights onto their asses.
It does not take a genius to find who placed the bounty on my head, I can feel Daemon and Aegor drill holes into me from across the field. Both will be missing my wedding to my perfect wife if they actually try what I think they are going to try. I have taken more men on at once than I have fingers and these fools think to gang up on me?
Alliances are always made in these events and groups stand strong, I like to break them down.
The horn blows and men shout as they rush forward toward an opponent, I can already see some form groups. They think numbers are their allies but it will only put them in my sights, that's why I am rushing to four men.
"Shit! Gut him!" A man with a red skull for a sigil shouts as I swing down my blunted blade onto his friend's back.
I pull my punches to avoid doing anything too permanent but enough that they go down for the rest of the melee. The evidence of that is the man who tumbled down from my blow had enough time to scream and struggle in pain instead of going paralyzed.
"James!" A sorrowful voice screams out as if seeing the love of his life die before his eyes. "I will crush you for that!" I love this!
A smile spreads on my face as men show their real selves on this field, the face they hide from the 'dragon prince'. I only get to see their real emotions and get to feel their desperate struggles out here where there are no 'dragons'. Only men with blunted swords and armor seeking gold or glory, I am after both.
I stand up straight and stiffly, narrowly avoiding a great sword cutting through the air behind me. I kick the flat of the blade as it hits the ground and it flies from the knight's hand. He has little time to react as my armored fist cracks him on the chin and he goes limp.
"Gerold!" I almost chuckle hearing him once more scream in pain before I punch his throat sending him gasping to the dirt.
"I yield!" The fourth tosses his sword down seeing me whip my head in his direction.
"Coward." I spit and look away from the spineless boy for better opponents.
Damn Brynden is lucky he is too young and was made to sit out of this melee or I would crack his skull. He smirks at me from the stands with his albino lips and eyes looking at me with some kind of 'victory' in them.
I only barely am even able to participate, my lungs still feel caved in from that damn horse and I have a bruise covering half my chest. A big black and blue bruise in the shape of a hoof, I will crack that damn horse's head for this.
"Focus Aegor, when we see an opportunity we will finish him." I look away from the Golden-headed knight I just jabbed in the chest and spot the monster.
I gulp seeing the blunted steel travel faster than an average man can even follow as he beats down green boys thinking they are skilled knights. Fools, they think the reason he is feared is only because of that big silver monster he has. They are wrong and that is why we are letting them wear him down before we 'finish' him for good.
Daemon has been sniffing after the silver princess since he first saw her, now that she is firmly in the hands of Aerion he can't hold himself back. He practically begged me to get up from my cot in the medical tent 'death is not uncommon in a melee' are the words he told me.
The hoof print on my chest stings thinking about those words, if that damned horse went for the head I would be dead.
I shake the thought from my mind as I grunt and follow daemon while keeping an eye on Aerion. If we want a chance at this it will have to be at the end when he is as tired as possible.
Sitting with my sisters watching Aerion bully people is just as fun as it used to be. He had plenty of practice growing up bullying our nephews, the poor fools out there don't stand a chance. He twirls and spins or just runs them down making his armor look weightless as he moves around with such speed.
I look away from Aerion and am once again surprised to see Aegor standing, Roach gave him a good kick. No one can say Aegor is easy to put down, my other half-brother has the will to fight that is only rarely matched. Daemon shows his highly skilled and practiced swordsmanship here and sends knights limping out of the field.
An hour and a half and only ten people are left.
It is actually pretty fast compared to some melees I have been to, I expected the lack of horses to prolong the fighting. But it seems since no one can ride away from Aerion he is knocking chunks out of the total men standing. Each time he arrives at a group you can hear them shout curses and prayers.
I find myself wondering how he would look with Dark sister on a battlefield.
"Enjoying the show?" Bellenora asks as she steals some of the chips I had fried up just for this melee.
"Yea it looks like it will be finished soon though, watch your dress these things are oily." She nods as she crunches a chip, her eyes never leaving the field.
Another hand snakes into my stash after being encouraged by the first thief, I can only sigh.
"Not you to Narha, I thought you loved me." She snorts and takes one of the sea salt-covered delicacies into her mouth.
"If you loved us back you wouldn't leave on a long voyage that has a high chance of you never returning. This might very well be some of the last chips I ever steal from you before you never return." Her once pleased and cheerful voice filled with bitterness and heartache.
"We talked about this." I sigh and she ignores me and instead takes another handful of my snack.
I can't help I don't even feel alive without the thrill of a journey, to see lands never before seen or long forgotten. It is my passion and my heart longs to once more be on 'my' ship heading out onto the sea in search of the next big discovery. I long to leave my name as not a bastard of a horrible king but as a man who sought out and found something amazing.
She will understand, they all will understand when I succeed and prove my purpose with my actions. I will be able to relax and live out a more relaxed life once I finish what I set out to do.
I shake away my thoughts as more people leave the field leaving only three. Three like the heads of the dragons on the sigil on my brother's chest. But there is only one 'dragon' on the field and he will beat both the wyrm's hissing at him.
I spin the practice sword and grip it tight as I look at Daemon and Aegor who just send the last man other than us out of the match. Aegor with a sword and shield, the shield carrying 'his' sigil the Bracken red horse with black dragon wings. Daemon with a sword and shield as well, his with the Blackfyre sigil he took up after taking the King's sword.
They seem to want to take turns blocking me and attacking me, they have been smashing anyone they ran into with that strategy. Aegor taking a more passive position compared to normal, and his chest likely still hurting. I admire he is even still standing after Roach downed him but I will finish what my horse started and put him back on his ass.
I spot a dropped blunted blade and bend down to snatch it up in my left hand, twirling it around along with my original blade I smile. If they want to take turns and corner me then how will they react to fighting 'two' of me at once?
The crowd whistles and shouts seeing me take another blade as I walk toward my 'brothers', I hope I look half as menacing as I feel. My black armor covered in dragon scales with the red Targaryen dragon sigil on my chest. Both blades pointed at the ground as I stride toward them with their postures lowered and ready to pounce.
""Is something the matter, Daemon? You have been distant as of late, almost like something has happened."" His feet shift but he holds his position with Aegor at his side.
The crowd goes dead silent having missed me speaking, I spoke in Valyrian anyway so most of them would not understand. Some of the higher-end houses learn Valyrian but they are not fluent in it, not like the House of the dragon.
""I wonder what could have set you off, is it something I did?"" No response once more as my helmet hides my growing smile. ""Or is it 'Someone' I did?"" I speak softer but his knee-jerk reaction and his shoulders raising let me know he heard me.
I almost continue as there are not many chances for me to shit talk since I need to keep my image good. But looking up at the Royal box behind them as if they are guarding it against me I spot a narrowed pair of eyes.
Shit, I hope she did not hear me, I put my foot in my mouth now.
I waste no more time and dash toward them twirling the blades again bring them down to finish the quickly. Shields meet blunted steel and the final battle has begun with a song of steel.
Each aimed to hit me in a different part of my body as if planned beforehand, they seemed to have been practicing for this moment. They are warmed up to put me down but I won't be an easy target. I am also warmed up to fight a pair and more so how could I go down to a man and a half of a man?
One blade hits a shield and another hits a blade as the crowd goes wild at the sight. Aegor is noticeably slower and tired out as he mainly blocks and only strikes when he is sure he can defend. I choose to press on him harder and cross both blades before slamming into his shield.
He stumbles back and I turn to bat Daemons advance away from me, as if with eyes in the back of my head I jump up to avoid a leg from the downed Aegor. His loud shout of fury as he misses and I bring one of my feet down onto his armored chest. I jump back after attempting to aggravate his wound and focus on Daemon who is trying to defend his ally.
Daemon sees Aegor won't stand up again as he tries to tear his breastplate off, he looks up at me and raises his shield.
Targaryen versus Blackfyre, the final fight of the melee.