Fenn roared and rode to face the man, but he had no more success the second time than he had the first. His spear got easily knocked aside, the way Gerraint had done a thousand times in practice, while Gerraint’s lance struck true. He put a hole in the crack in the bottom of the Irishman’s shield and stuck the man in the gut. It did not penetrate far, but only because Fenn lost control of his horse and went shooting off the backside to be deposited hard on his rump
Suddenly, the people watching began to cheer, and the cluster of Irishmen on the far side of the court could not stop them no matter how mean their stares. Lady Erin, who stood on the steps of the great hall, watching, cried out when Fenn fell, and would have run to him, but the little man stopped her. The fat thing beside the Lady had to be Megalis, but all the man could do was stare with his mouth open, and maybe drool a little.
Gerraint dismounted as Fenn grimaced and rubbed his gut. Gerraint gave him no time to heal as Gerraint spoke. He called out to Avalon and the rusty chain, breastplate and helmet he wore became instantly replaced by his own armor, the chain mail of the Kairos. His helmet looked more Greek than Roman, but who would know? His blades looked sharp enough. Defender stayed nestled across the small of his back, and slanted across his whole back, the older, big brother sword of Salvation, a sword called Wyrd. Gerraint held out his hand and called to the sword, and it flew to his hand, like magic. Everyone hushed.
“This is the sword called fate,” Gerraint said, as Fenn got back to his feet and pulled his own sword. Fenn looked shaken and groggy. “Now yours will be determined.” Gerraint shouted and brought Wyrd down on Fenn’s shield with all his strength. It finished the work of the spear and lance and shattered the shield and likely Fenn’s wrist besides. Fenn looked afraid for all of a second before the rage came into his face and put some strength in his arm.
Fenn attacked with wild swings of his sword, but they were swings that Gerraint easily parried or avoided. Gerraint slowly stepped back and to the side, eventually causing Fenn to make a complete circle. Then Fenn appeared to tire and his sword dropped, but Gerraint was too much of a veteran to be taken in. He knew better than to let his guard down in the face of his enemy. He feigned a step forward and found Fenn’s sword rise up in his face. Gerraint simply continued the sword’s direction until it flew out of Fenn’s hand altogether. Fenn never saw that move before, and looked stunned. Gerraint sliced down Fenn’s armor with surgical precision and then he spun Fenn around before the man could react. Wyrd sheathed itself while Gerraint reached from behind the Irishman and yanked open the man’s armor. He continued to pull on it until it pinned the man’s arms behind his own back.
“Let’s see what you look like naked,” Gerraint said. Defender came to hand and he sliced through the rope Fenn used for a belt, even as Fenn wriggled free of his armor, going carefully around his broken wrist. Fenn’s armor fell to the ground the same time as his pants fell to his ankles and he stood in a diaper and turned red enough to show through his harry chest. He would not have minded being beaten, though he hardly expected to be beaten, but the humiliation felt like more than he could stand. He tried to walk, but since he had his pants around his ankles, he fell face first to the dirt and looked like he never wanted to get up.
Lady Erin could stand it no longer. She broke free of the little man and rushed to Fenn, wailing like the man was dead. The little man followed. Gerraint stepped back and found Enid at his elbow. Ynywl and Guinevak headed toward the steps to the great hall, encouraged by the people from the city. Megalis appeared frozen in time.
“Well, trollop,” Gerraint said, and he nudged the woman Erin with his boot. The little man screamed and came at him with a knife. Gerraint figured the knife had been dipped in poison and let defender fly. He pinned the little man’s leg to the cobblestones where the man cried out and repeated over and over, “My leg, my leg.” He also complained mightily about the big man picking on the poor little man, but Gerraint ignored him.
“Whore. Tart.” Gerraint nudged the woman again with his boot and she turned on him like a viper, but Gerraint was prepared. He knew never to drop his guard on the enemy. He caught the woman by the throat and lifted her right off the ground, his arm extended. She began to choke and could not breathe, but Gerraint only said, “Yes, I am talking to you,” before he threw her back down on Fenn’s prostrate, naked body. “It seems you have a decision to make. You are married to Megalis and can stay and be a good wife, if possible, or you can go with Fenn. Choose.”
“I would never stay with that brainless oaf,” she spouted. “I was married to Fenn long before I married that fat little weasel.”
“Then it is settled,” and Gerraint raised his voice. “You Irish, hear me. You have two hours to collect Fenn, the tart, her stinky little man-dog and your things. You leave your horses here, and you will be given a boat that you can row back to Ireland. If you are still here after two hours I will introduce you to the headsman’s axe. Consider your lives forfeit, so I better not find you somewhere else on this island.” The Irish did not argue. There were fifty men from the city ready to tear them apart if they did.
Gerraint turned and found not only Enid, but the old parish priest there, holding up a cross like maybe Gerraint was some sort of vampire. “Father Vespian,” the priest introduced himself. “Your name?”