Time slowed to almost a standstill.  Alex was dimly aware of hailstones pinging off his metal shell and his breath rising in falling in his chest.  His muscles were already sore from the fighting, as the rough fall combined with his armour’s weight was putting an unexpected strain on his body.  Alex was not used to full armour, having only worn light leather and chain mail on his scouting expeditions.  They were more suited to the ambushes and skirmishes that had become his rebellion’s style of fighting. 

           He did not like how the helmet’s faceplate obstructed his view.  There was no peripheral vision, and looking up and down was difficult.  His sweat trickled down inside the helmet despite the winter weather, and it was distracting.  Despite these discomforts, Alexander mustered all his concentration and force into delivering the final blow.  He had to finish Neal and this war, here and now.

            Neal was on his hands and knees, trying to stand up.  He heard Alex’s footsteps in the snow coming towards his side, and knew that his cousin fully intended to kill him.  Just as Alexander’s sword descended, Neal swung out with his legs, kicking Alex’s feet out from under him.  He fell to the ground with a groan, the chest-plate of his armour knocking the wind out of him.  Alex’s sword fell into the snow.

            Neal fought his way to his feet, pulling off his helmet for air.  The fall from his horse had done some damage, it felt like he had perhaps bruised or even cracked some ribs.  He breathed in the cold crisp air of winter, oblivious to the hail falling from the sky.  Neal began searching for his own sword, lost when he was knocked from his steed.

            Before he had a chance to find it, he was tackled from the side.  Alexander had finally picked himself up, and instead of searching for his blade the rebellion’s leader went right for his opponent, throwing him to the ground.  They wrestled, neither one getting the upper hand.  Alex got his hand around Neal’s throat and started choking, but the Citadel lord began striking Alex’s helmeted head.  The impact stunned Alexander, as the helmet’s hard structure, meant to protect him, was now used to rattle him.  He let go for a moment, falling back to remove it.

            Neal charged at him, and Alex threw the helmet in his face, breaking his nose in a spurt of blood.  He pressed his advantage, clambering atop his armoured cousin and striking at his face with his fists, pummelling him into the ground.  Once again, Alexander got a grip on Neal’s throat with one hand, causing his cousin to grab him around the wrist with both hands as he struggled for breath.  Having him in this position allowed Alex to use his free hand to draw a knife from his belt, and he prepared to use it to finish this fight once and for all.

            He heard a sound from behind him, but could not turn quickly enough in his heavy armour to see what caused it.  Alex felt a sharp pain in his sides, piercing and agonizing.  He would have screamed, but instead blood flowed from his mouth in a gurgle.  He slumped forward into the snow beside Neal, and lay dying.

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