|michellewebster (michellewebster) wrote in goddessland,|
@ 2017-09-16 10:22:00
|Entry tags:||character: michelle webster|
Stranger in a Strange Land, Part 1
Who: Michelle Webster
Where: First London, then Goddess Island
When: September 16, Dawn
Warning: Possible gratuitous sex and/or graphic violence, ribald conversation
"My name is Yuri Olenichev." He was a head taller than Michelle, twice as wide and probably three times her weight. His voice was as deep you'd expect of someone so large. All in all, not someone she wanted to face. But he'd chased her across Europe long to prove he wasn't going to give up--and she wasn't going to lose him. She stuffed her emotions down deep. There would be time enough to give way to fear later.
"The way you say that, it sound like you think I should have heard of you. Well, I haven't. What do you want?"
"I want your head."
"It's true that I'm renowned for my head, but this isn't the way to ask--"
"Enough stupid banter." He produced a sword from beneath his coat. As was typical of male immortals, it was a long blade. Difficult to conceal, impractical in many places. "Choose your ground."
She'd already done so. The empty cottage behind her. Michelle drew her own blade, a 23 inch kindjal. She'd retreat into the cottage, where doorways and small, low-ceilinged rooms gave her short sword an immense advantage over Yuri's long blade.
A wave of dizziness washed over her. No! She shook her head, but that only made it worse. The tip of her sword drooped, and her backpack--her bug-out pack--slid off her shoulder to hang from the elbow of her free arm. She stumbled back as Yuri advanced, sword rising. He smeared into random strokes of color, then everything went black.
Waking was a surprise. Michelle stared up at a bright blue sky for an instant before memory caught up. She flung herself to one side, expecting a blade to fall. None did. She glanced around frantically, heart pounding. She was alone in a grassy field, a copse of trees nearby. Her sword and her bug-out bag lay on the grass to her right. She listened hard.
She heard birds singing. The wind in the branches of the trees. A skittering overhead. Squirrels? And--she smelled the sea. Couldn't see it, but definitely smelled it. So...the shore? An island? But where? And how did she get here?
For that matter, why was she even still alive? Yuri had been about to take advantage of her unexpected--and totally unfair--moment of vertigo. But he hadn't. Had someone intervened? Had he shown pity? Or some kind of strange code of honor? Had he brought her here to finish their duel?
Michelle looked around again. If so, it was a much better battlefield for Yuri than for her. Plenty of room to swing his huge sword. But she saw no evidence of his presence. She was alone in a field, though now she noticed buildings in the distance, and the glitter of a lake close to it. But nothing moved that she could see. No smoke rose from chimneys.
Closer to hand, her sword and bag weren't all there was. A glossy black rectangle--an electronic tablet?--and a huge egg also rested on the ground. At least, she thought it was an egg. It was comfortably larger than even an ostrich egg, which were the biggest ones she'd ever heard of. But why was it lying here, out in the open? Shouldn't it be buried somewhere, or at least in a nest?
Michelle glanced around again. No mother ostriches--or worse--lurked nearby, ready to savage her for threatening the egg. No Yuri. No villagers. She really was alone, it seemed. And therefore safe. She'd survived another Challenge, albeit in some unexplained way.
Michelle sat heavily, her eyes watering. Now that it was safe, the terror and fury she'd so ruthlessly repressed so she could face Yuri burst out. She cried hard, clutched her knees to her breast and rocked herself. It was ugly, and painful, and absolutely necessary, and it went on for some minutes.