“What in the hells is wrong with you?!” Tyn demanded, still with his hand near his weapon.  He could sling his shield onto his left arm swiftly if he had to, but to think that he would have to defend himself from his brother was simply too much to be believed.

Vacca was drunk, there was no doubt in Tyn’s mind, the slurring of his words as he spoke, the slightly leaning posture as he glared defiantly at his brother, it all spoke volumes to the celestial.

“Told you,” Vacca said, his voice heavy with drink, “Told you we’d finish this later on.” Tyn’s eyes widened just a bit as he heard his brother speak, his right hand still close to his hammer while his left was cocked back just a bit.  It would be ludicrous to raise arms against his own brother, but he wasn’t about to allow Vacca the opportunity to pummel him senseless for something that should have been commonplace between the two of them.

In their younger years, as children, Vacca, Tyn, and Adik had all been more than a little combative with one another.  It had taken years of patience and strict rules set forth by their father for the three of them to see one another as brothers, and not allow the racial differences they exhibited to come between them.  But of the three of them, Adik had been the only one to truly rise above the squabbles that had dominated their relationship for so long.  Taking on the oath of Markone had done wonders for the dwarf, tempering him in a way that only Tyn could possibly emulate, given the strict discipline he’d been forced to endure in his years among the city guard.  Vacca however, no matter how well trained, had never lost his wilder side, retaining his need to grandstand, his desire to be recognized as a force unto himself.  This made him more than a bit arrogant, no matter that he would appear humble if it seemed necessary, and even contrite at times.  Too often though he had taken this too far, drowning himself in the need to act the victim, claiming that the world was against him.  Tyn was not entirely surprised he had chosen the life of solitude among the wilds for long stretches of time, he would have been surprised if anyone other than family would stomach Vacca’s insistent whining.

“Vacca, sit down, let’s talk about this.” Tyn said, his voice calm and his manner sincere.

The ranger just snorted, pulling both his weapons free, “There’s nothing to talk about, you and I got something to settle.”

Tyn still didn’t draw his weapon, “Brother, just calm down, I’m sure we can talk about this, what would father always-“

“Don’t you bring him into this!” Vacca yelled, spittle flying from his lips as he glared openly at Tyn.  The light was shed just a bit more on the situation as Tyn straightened a bit, his eyes widening almost imperceptibly as he felt his fingers itch to draw forth his weapon.

Among the three of them, Vacca had always been the one who had incurred their father’s ire the most.  While it was mostly his own fault, Vacca had always been slightly resentful of the favor that Tyn and Adik had seemed to garner.  Jurel had loved all his sons dearly, and had done much for them over the years, but Vacca’s troublemaking had vexed the old paladin greatly in his later years, especially when it had seemed as though the elf had not cared whether he tarnished the reputation of his father or not.  Too often Jurel had seen fit to forgive Vacca, though always the ranger had seen fit to push his limits even further, until he and their father had finally had a falling out.  That had been the first time that Vacca had left.

Something told Tyn that Vacca had been thinking of the past with each drink he’d taken, the empty bottle of spirits he could see at the elf’s feet making him believe that Vacca had been ruminating more than a little.  He’d not left the ranger alone that long, but then Vacca had always been a strong drinker, no matter that his tolerance did not extend to his sense of reason.  Once he’d imbibed more than was normal for any being, Vacca’s good sense often flew on dark wings to the farthest corner of the realms, leaving only the instinctual, cunning warrior he’d become.

“Fine then Vacca,” Tyn said calmly, “Make your move.”

That was all the invitation Vacca needed as he moved, his blades becoming blurs within his hands as he drunkenly stumbled around the two chairs that sat in front of the blazing hearth, aiming as straight as he could for his brother.  Tyn watched him come, drawing his shield at the last moment as Vacca struck.  He needn’t have bothered, the elf’s blade rang off the floor as he overbalanced, spilling hard to a knee before he attempted a difficult back slash with his other weapon.  Vacca’s true strength was that he did not worry overmuch about defense, his martial prowess had much to do with blinding and overwhelming offense.  Tyn however had studied just as hard, and had included defense into his assortment of skills.  Even with this however he could already guess that he would not need to worry too much about Vacca’s deadly speed or precision.  His brother was drunk, and as such he was impaired.  The fight would hardly be fair, but Tyn would see to it that Vacca was at the very least shown a lesson.

Reaching out with his hammer Tyn attempted to yank his brother backward as he moved, seeking to put Vacca on his back and therefore end the fight.  The elf surprised him in that moment however as he resisted, slashing back at Tyn as he was forced to retract his weapon and come on guard, feeling the impact of Vacca’s first attack and then the second as his brother stupidly attacked his shield.  Holding easily against the twin assault, Tyn’s shield felt surprisingly light in that moment, though he did not dwell on this as he pushed forward, thrusting his brother backward as Vacca attempted to gain his feet.

Unfortunately for the ranger, Tyn had the higher elevation and the greater force in that moment, managing to push hard enough so that Vacca’s already precious balance upon his knee was lost entirely, his limb buckling as he went down hard to his back, his weapons still gripped tightly in his hands as he let loose a startled grunt.  Tyn turned about, standing over his brother with his hammer at hip level, glaring hard at the fallen ranger as Vacca tried desperately to regain his bearings.

“Do not get up brother,” Tyn warned, already knowing the response that such words would invoke.  Sure enough he watched as Vacca snarled, attempting to rise as he spared a glare for his brother.

Even as Tyn attempted to thump the head of his hammer into Vacca’s arching back, the elf proved that he was quicker, rolling away as he regained his footing, his balance unsteady but his weapons still in hand as he stared heatedly at Tyn.

“That was a mistake brother, to let me up.  Now we’ll finish this.”

Tyn narrowed is gaze, “Come forward then.”

Vacca didn’t hesitate, moving swiftly as Tyn raised his shield to defend.  He was huffing for his next breath even as he watched his brother move away however, wondering what had just happened and why his midsection suddenly burned like fire, twin lines of heat racing up and down each side as he felt a sticky warmth spreading along his flesh.  Blinking rapidly Tyn whirled upon his brother, as much as he could, anger writ plainly in his eyes as Vacca grinned evilly at him, the edges of his blade wet with Tyn’s blood.  His brother had cut him, he’d used his damnable speed and cunning to lay him open, his own kin!

Anger flooded through Tyn in that moment, pure and without restraint as he looked upon the cocksure, drunk, and smiling ranger.  In the past they had harmed one another, though never had they dared to lay one another open with steel. Father would have forbid it and no doubt punished them severely for such a slight.  But then, father wasn’t here.  Tyn’s mind was awhirl with questions at that moment, most of them centering around what Vacca had just done and why.  Quickly enough though he decided that it did not matter, his brother had wounded him, and such a slight demanded payback.

“Nothing to say brother?” Vacca mocked, his drunken glare alight with glee as he moved in close yet again. Tyn let him come, only half-feigning the pain he was in.  His brother’s blades had not gone deep at least, but the wounds were going to need healing soon, or he would surely bleed to death.  For the moment though, he had to repay his sibling for what had just been given, and he could think of no other method other than to deliver as hard a blow as he could.  Thus he watched Vacca closely, allowing his brother to come ever closer, blades raised as though to strike again, and then he acted.

Even as his shield was rising to block Vacca’s first attack Tyn’s hammer was moving to first knock aside the second attack and then slam brutally into the elf’s body, striking just under the ranger’s heart as he put enough force into the attack to make his brother feel it.  There would be no more pulling punches apparently, the wetness that seeped from his flesh was indicative of that.  Tyn almost felt ribs shake and his brother’s innards rattle as his blow hit home, though he knew that the true effect of his blow would come as his brother attempted to attack, as his own strength would become his weakness. The blow had the effect of backing Vacca up immediately, the shocked look upon his face one that Tyn had seen in the past.  He’d not expected his brother, whom he thought to be a lowly fighter, to attack with such fervor, such ferocity.  That was just too damned bad then, Vacca had started this, and Tyn meant to finish it.

Gathering his resolve in that moment, Vacca shifted to his left foot, looking as though he were about to go in that direction, but just as quickly moved to his right, a maneuver that might have worked against many foes, but not Tyn.  As much time as he had spent from the city, Vacca was still predictable in that he would try to fake out his opponent before coming straight ahead.  The ranger was quite skilled at feinting and striking, running, and striking again, but it would not work against someone that knew him so well.  Tyn did not fall for the feint, blocking the next two attacks his brother brought against his left side easily, managing to aid his brother in falling hard against one of the chairs near the hearth as Vacca almost doubled over in pain, the hit that he’d suffered finally taking its toll as Tyn had intended.

It was a method that he had learned from the veterans among the city guard, one that would attack an opponent in two different ways. While it didn’t work against everyone, it was more than effective when it did take hold.  The trick of it was to strike with enough force and in the many spots that had been designated after much study of anatomy as crucial weak points within an opponent’s body.  The resulting blow would damage not only the outer portion of the enemy’s body, but the force of it would sink deeper, penetrating tissues and spreading out so that once the enemy attacked again, the workings of their own muscles would add to the damage, furthering the attack without any further assistance from the defender.  It was a talent that Tyn had picked up quickly, and one that he’d hoped to not have to use against his brother.  But Vacca had shown no reservations about using force against him, so fair was fair.

“What, what did you do?” Vacca asked, holding his arms close to his body, glaring at him now as he tried to defend.  Tyn took a slow step forward, his eyes still upon the ranger as he raised his hammer again.  His brother attempted to defend as the hammer swung for his left shoulder, Tyn’s intention to force Vacca into dropping his weapon.  His brother couldn’t raise his weapons fast enough as Tyn attacked, silent as his hammer whistled through the air, finding Vacca’s shoulder with unerring ease as its metal head connected without mercy, the snapping of bone loud even over the popping and hissing flames from the heart.  Vacca’s yell of pain and outrage was even louder though, but somehow he held onto his weapon, his left hand even tightening upon the grip of the blade.

He was more than ready as Vacca tried to attack, his left blade barely rising enough to menace him as Tyn batted it away with his hammer, taking the right blade on his shield as he pushed it away, almost knocking Vacca down again as he moved in.  The look of hopeless defeat upon the elf’s face was hardly appealing, though Tyn would not stop until Vacca was down, he knew that the ranger would see this fight through to the end if he did not.

So thinking he stepped in towards his brother again, barely thinking about what he was doing as the head of his weapon met Vacca’s face, snapping his head back forcefully, but thankfully not fatally, as he watched the ranger almost fold over the high-backed chair, crumpling only a second later.  Tyn did not kneel next to his brother for several moments, closing his eyes as he slung his shield upon his back once more, affixing his hammer to his belt again.  Leaning down he checked for a pulse, finding it strong and steady thankfully as he straightened up.  Hissing in pain as this motion tortured his split flesh, Tyn inhaled through his nose, opening his eyes to look down upon Vacca’s battered form again, frowning heavily as the pain of his wounds set in.

Taking in a deep breath he closed his eyes again, calling upon the Innate magic that flowed through so many within the world, utilizing it in order to stem the flow of blood long enough so that he might find a healing potion or two, or maybe three.  Depending on how potent the overly sweet remedies their father had kept stored away were he would be healed fully in a matter of hours.  He would give one or two to Vacca as well, but only when the ranger revived, which he would not be helping to facilitate any time soon.  His brother could sleep off his drunken state before he awoke to wonder at what had happened.  Tyn would have much explaining to do he was sure, but even worse than speaking to Vacca about this would be speaking to Adik, who would want to know just why their elven brother was now sporting a broken nose, a broken arm, possibly a broken collarbone, and internal injuries that the ranger would likely notice once he woke.  That conversation was not one that Tyn looked forward to.

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