Beneficial to all, as long as both come back

If she injured Saoirse then there would be one less hunter to bring in food at this critical juncture. That didn’t make Toiréasa hesitate. If she was better, than that would be her job.

Her feint was read. Saoirse followed up with her own, which didn’t fool Toiréasa for a second. They continued their exchange of feints and parries for thirty seconds before they were both satisfied.

“Be back by nightfall with as many kerit as you can carry,” Toiréasa proclaimed. “I will have brought more.”

There was something about Saoirse’s smirk, the hint of teeth there, that caused a new rush of energy inside Toiréasa not caused by their bout.

“I’d like to see you try.”

Toiréasa signaled for the beast to stay. The Gévaudan wasn’t happy about that, but left her to her own devices. As one, both women turned to prepare.


“This is boring!”

Toiréasa would have thrown her blade aside, but her black anger wasn’t directed at the weapon. Simply at everyone else’s. She glared at her father, who had to go pick his up. He hadn’t thrown his aside. She’d disarmed him.

Again. He hadn’t been protecting his eyes when she jabbed them.

“Give me a challenge!” she barked, much like the beast she had trained who watched the proceedings. The Gévaudan beast didn’t even move, though watched her intently with her small ears which were directed in Toiréasa’s direction. “Or I’ll go kill more kerit!”

Before he could speak, someone else did. Toiréasa wasn’t surprised about the witnesses. Even when her father wasn’t instructing others, people couldn’t seem able to resist watching. If it was less for him now and more for her, well, that wouldn’t surprise her either.

Especially when what was spoken was for her. “Kerit? Easy pickings. Try me on for size.”

Saoirse vaulted the fence, drawing her own sword. Toiréasa didn’t even care to respond. Shifting her hold, she went at Saoirse with every intent to win.