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Chapter 3.

Fran did not wield regret. She drew one sword and two, trusted herself to know her armour secured, and turned to meet her opponent.

Be as the Mist, mindless; Fran would not wield regret, for it would turn in her hand. The other viera was skilled, but unfamiliar with the hume habit of brutal close combat, eyes narrowed with consideration as though this battle were a woodwarder's trial. Fran brought the viera to the floor with the greater strength of her thighs, a punch weighed by her hilt; Fran pressed her edge along the viera's throat, and held.

The viera had been a good warrior. As rage receded, Fran felt the sting of wounds, the ache of bruising yet to show, and it would show during the night's celebrations of her captive strength. The armour the Archadians had crafted for their Master of Weapons scarcely covered vulnerabilities, instead presented for approval.

Fran waited, her eyes on the Emperor's box. He did not attend these Balfonheim vainglories. Banished lords of corruption in lieu gave the signal that would end the viera's life and preserve Fran's own.

The crowd roared adoration: they chanted Fran's name, all that was left.

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