|The Magnificent One
He was magnificent, truly.
When he took those great, deep, quaffing breaths it felt as though the
buttons would burst off of all of our coats. Before him, his opponent—though
in other context of considerable stature—seemed unbearably slight, elliciting
in us a collective urge to rush forward and wrap our arms around him, though
in truth, no single set of our arms could have compassed him. Our
arms. There stood the other, the magnificent one. And now,
at last, the arbitrator, barely a speck between them, stepped forward,
bowed and barked instructions to bare weapons and prepare to exchange steel.
There was a hush. The smaller of them drew, quick, and the cold air
crackled bluely around a fine thin blade. All eyes then moved to
the other. The hush grew complete. He took a short, sharp breath,
and several of us were sucked forward only to be violently repulsed when
he exhaled, and, with a cry that cracked teeth in some of the older onlookers'
mouths, drew. And drew. And drew and drew. For though
the hilt seemed of relatively normal length, the magnificent one stood
fully extended, his mighty hands held impossibly high above his head, and
still the sword hadn't slipped free. And even after he had removed
his belt and had taken several thundering steps away from the scarlet hilt,
still the sword wasn't free, nor would it be, even after a hundred of those
thundering steps, a thousand, and the magnificent one now gone, madly running,
and leaving behind him ever more of the gleaming steel line.