“If you want my hand in marriage you will have to fight for it.” Lady Willomena said. As she looked at the second man that had approached her for her hand in marriage. Her chin and nose pointed upwards completing the snobby look.
“Who, who is this other man that has asked for your hand in marriage? I will kill him on the spot!” Markus proclaimed.
“Rodney, and you will have your chance Markus to show me who is man enough to wed me and provide for my every need.”
“Willomena!” Markus said getting down on one knee, her hand in his. “I swear to you on this day that I shall fight and kill for your affections. And give you a life like no other man could provide.”
“Talk is cheap, if you desire to wed me you must kill Rodney. And I will wed the winner.”
“Do you know where Rodney is now?” Markus asked still on his one knee looking up at Willomena holding her hand gently in his.
“I imagine he is at his father’s shipping company office.”
Markus stood. “Ha! I am off to issue the challenge my love. Soon we will be together until the end of time.”
Markus wasted no time in tracking down R & R Shipping, it was the only father son ran shipping company in the village of Valency. Looking up at the sign Markus, smirked. “You will not have her.” Markus was blind with love and pushed the door open, it slammed harder than he expected against the wall, but it had the same effect. Rodney, and his son Rodney Jr. looked up from writing in their journals.
“What can I do for you?” Rodney Sr. said.
“I am here to challenge your son for the hand of Willomena.” Markus said proudly.
Rodney stood up from his chair. He was a small man, not as well built. A bit soggy around the mid-section from his desk job. “So, she had accepted to be wed by another man. Challenge accepted.” Rodney Jr. held out his hand.
“I shake no enemies hand!” Markus said. “Meet me at the large oak by the water. Do you prefer swords or pistol?”
“Swords.” Rodney said.
“Swords it is. I will have you know I have been trained by the best; my father made sure of it.”
“Then we shall put your training to the test.” Rodney said, pulling out his pocket watch. Lunch would be shortly. “Say noon today? Or do you need more time to prepare?”
“Ha! I need no time to prepare for this! Noon today by the old oak. I suggest you get your papers in order.” Markus turned and left.
Rodney Sr. looking up from his papers. “Do be sure to dispatch him quickly. We cannot afford to lose any hours due to mischief.”
“I will father.”
Rodney was leaning against the old oak tree by the time Markus arrived. “Excited to meet your death are you?” Markus said as he pulled his rapier from its sheath and wave it in the air in front of him. Listening to the woosh sounds it made. Rodney did not reply. He looked at Markus playing with his sword like a toy.
All his life Rodney had been made fun of, teased for being overweight and a bit slow. But he was no push over, it made him work harder at everything he did. Rodney withdrew his rapier and turned to face Markus.
“We just need to wait for my love Willomena.” Markus said.
Like she had heard her name, she appeared from the pathway. Immediately she saw them and smiled knowing that one man would be taking her hand in marriage, and she knew it would be Markus. “Good, I did not miss it.” She approached the men. “You may begin.”
“Prepare to die Rodney.”
As the two men faced each other Markus was the first to strike. He was quick and trying to catch Rodney off guard. Was it right? Was it honourable? It didn’t matter Rodney expected something like this from Markus and was prepared. Rodney was able to deflect the thrust and quickly moved in with his own attack. A straight thrust towards Markus chest. Behind Rodney, Willomena screamed and cheer for Markus. This seemed to distract Markus as Rodney had believed that his attack was going to the end the fight. But just as Rodney expected to feel his rapier pierce flesh Markus recovered and was able to deflect the strike away from his torso. But his distraction did cost him as Rodney’s blade sunk deep in Markus left shoulder. Markus grunted and a grimace appeared on his face. Behind Markus, Willomena gasped as she witnessed the much better-looking man get hurt, and the one she wanted. She had only accepted Rodney’s proposal due to his father’s business. It made her feel good that two men were fighting over her.
Markus took a step back and felt his shoulder, looking down at the blood on his fingers. “You will pay for that!”
Rodney smiled at Markus but said nothing.
Markus became infuriated as he could not get a single reaction from Rodney. His jaw clinched and he ran at Rodney waiving his rapier wildly in front of him.
There was no skill in Markus’s attack it was wild, fueled by anger and it was his undoing. Rodney batted the blade away and used Markus’s own momentum against him. He didn’t have to thrust his blade or do much other than make sure the pointy end was facing Markus and Markus’s body weight and momentum did the rest.
Willomena let out a scream as she saw Rodney’s blade sink deeply into Markus, so deep that it shot out his back. A shocked look flashed across Markus’s face as his eyes met Rodney’s. The two of them stared at each other for what felt like hours but was only seconds. Markus fell to one knee, then both knees. Rodney with cruel intentions twisted his rapier before pulling it out of Markus’s chest. Markus fell to all fours before rolling on to his back. Behind him Rodney could hear Willomena rushing towards him. He gave a quick glance over his shoulder to make sure she was not coming to kill him.
Willomena had pulled up the front of her dress, not to trip over it as she ran to where Markus lay. She looked down at the dying body of Markus. She wept, then with red puffy eyes she looked up to Rodney.
“It was you I always wanted.”
Rodney smiled and looked at Willomena. “Didn’t go how you expected it to?” Rodney started to walk away.
“Hey…wait! What about my ring?”
Willomena brought her hands up, covering her mouth as the tears returned. She collapsed beside the body of Markus. “What have I done.” She whispered.