Author's Note: In Suikoden III (an RPG for the PS2) there are three playable characters. One of them is a lady knight named Chris Lightfellow who is pretty well done as far as female characters go. I also like her armor and dress. There are a few opportunities to put her through the ringer as the story unfolds such as war mini games and battles. She has two duels she can lose, although it's pretty hard since they're weighted in her favor. Still, it's possible to fail and humiliate her even if it has no bearing on the story. One of my favorite scenes involves a duel at a burning windmill against a man she believes killed her father. So I wrote it as she is defeated. Enjoy. ----------------- Chris Lightfellow ran to the burning windmill with Percival and Nash in tow. The fires started from the Grassland surprise attack ravaged the village. The isolated windmill near the fields was the safest place from the burning buildings and the ransacking soldiers. A number of survivors had already gathered hoping for a safe haven and watched their homes smolder in the distance. Smoke filled the horizon but Chris knew they would be found out eventually. They didn’t have much time. “Phew, could we rest for a bit?” Nash gasped as they came to a stop. “Milady, who is this ruffian?” Percival gestured, clearly annoyed at their surprise guest. Chris cut them off before they could get much further. The Grasslanders had found them. The lizard chief Dupa and a Karayan man led a number of fighters to the base of the windmill. Chris had fought them before... but never so outnumbered. She readied herself for anything and hoped her companions could stay calm considering the circumstances. “Damn...” Percival muttered as they were surrounded. “How surprising to run into you, ‘White Maiden.’” The lizard chief Dupa greeted. “I almost didn’t believe my men when they reported you here. How fortunate.” She resented the nickname but took stock of the enemy numbers. Fighting their way out would surely get them swarmed and overwhelmed. Dupa grinned and gazed at her company. “I am Chris, neither a Zexen hero nor a ‘White Maiden,’ thank you. I am just one of many knights.” She corrected him. The Karayan man stepped forward. He had been quiet throughout the encounter so far, but her identity sparked his attention. She found something... familiar about him. There was no doubt he was a Grasslander at war with Zexen... but even still. An unshakable feeling came over her. One she had trouble putting a finger on. “Are you the real Chris Lightfellow?” He asked. The ease with how the man said her name put her on edge. The feeling became dread. “How do you know my name?” She looked him up and down. “You... you look like a Karayan fighter. Then... you can’t be...” A quiet hope she fostered deep inside her came to the surface. She quickly pressed it down and tried to keep focus on the situation. This man... reminded her so much of a time since past. “I know the name ‘Wyatt Lightfellow.’” The man said. The dread quickly transformed into anger. It started to make sense now. That armor at the Karayan village... and the pentacle brought to her house by a Grassland boy. Her body straightened up. “Then you can tell me about the armor in your village.” Her voice was rising. “And the pentacle that Karayan boy brought to my house!” The man before her nodded. “The boy was following my instructions. It was a promise I made.” A quiet fell over the windmill. The only sound Chris could hear was the crackling of flames around her. “Promise?” She repeated. “Are you saying you killed my father!?” She could no longer suppress her emotions. The murder of her father... could it be the man in front of her? How could she miss this opportunity? Her eyes narrowed into a cold stare. The man, however, was not intimidated. He shrugged. “What if I did? Are you going to avenge his death?” Chris drew her sword in a flash and held it at the man in front of her. No one moved as she tuned out the world around her and went into a fighting stance. It didn’t matter that she was surrounded and had no chance of beating so many Grassland soldiers. This man... he would pay. “If you did, then yes! I’m willing to do so right now!” The man did not look away as he took a quick glance at Chris’ sword and nodded. “Suit yourself.” He made a gesture to the lizard chief. I’ll handle this, if you don’t mind Dupa.” The lizard chief nodded and moved his soldiers back along with the villagers, Percival, and Nash to make way for a dueling area. Chris squared off with the Karayan man with every intent to strike him down. Her opponent kept his cool. She thought maybe she could detect a bit of enjoyment in the man’s motions... but the thought disgusted her. This man had killed her father. Didn’t he understand the severity of that? The grip on her sword tightened. “Shall we begin? Go on, take a swing at me.” Despite her better judgement she launched a full strike at him, intent on ending the duel as soon as possible in a single deathblow. Her powerful swings missed as he dodged to the side and punished her haste with a quick slash and a kick to her chest. She took the blow and stumbled backwards, losing ground in the process. The man kept his expression and merely shrugged. “Sorry, but I’ve been doing this a lot longer than you have.” Chris tried to make up for lost time with a quick attack but stumbled into a series of powerful strikes. The man’s attitude disgusted her... but his skills were completely serious. “Aaah! Arrggh!” Chris could not suppress her cries of pain as he hammered her. They backed off of each other. Chris took a pause, realizing that she was already breathing hard. The battle had barely started and she felt exhausted. This was no way to win a fight. Her better judgement returned and she kept on the defense. She had to find an opening. The man came at her again intent on ending the fight, but she avoided his attacks with careful movement. “Good enough. Let’s see how you handle this.” All of his talking was getting under her skin. She could not deny it. Maybe for that reason her caution worked against her this time as he moved close enough to graze her armor and swing at her head. It was a narrow miss, but Chris came out fairly unscathed and prepared to make a move. She had lost a lot of ground in no time at all. Quickly she leaped forward and thrust her sword. But as sure as her attack appeared, she missed. Inside her mind she was scolding herself. “Well, well.... having trouble?” The man raised an eyebrow. She swung again and missed. He tried to retaliate with a deadly strike but she barely avoided it. “Playing it safe? That’s fine with me.” Chris’ frustration reached its limit and she lunged back with all of her strength. This time her attack landed, nearly slashing her opponent across the chest in the process. He jumped back, clearly startled by the sudden strike. She pressed her attack. But now that he was on the defensive he easily dodged and found an opening to exploit. Chris felt his blade collide with her back, thankful her armor was there to absorb the blow. She was much less prepared for getting cracked in the back of her head with the hilt of his sword. “Aaaaaaah!” The dizzying blow forced her to her knees. The only thing keeping her from falling to a vulnerable position on the ground was her sword. Still, she was ripe for a follow up attack and she forced herself to stand. Her balance was wobbly from the blow as she fought to make distance between her and the Karayan man. With one hand on her sword, she felt her head with the other and tried to shake it off. It was not easy as she struggled to remain standing. “I hope this isn’t too much for you,” he said. Chris watched as he moved in with his arm cocked back. She readied her sword and together they swung as hard as they could. Their weapons collided in air with a thunderous clang as they bounced off each other. The force sent them both recoiling backwards. Her arm hurt from the vibration but she fought through it and forced herself to strike again while her opponent was off guard. As much pain as she endured to make it happen, she managed to hit the Karayan man with no small amount of power behind it. It was his turn to grunt in pain as they squared off and tried to recover. The battle was wearing on her. Her lungs gasped for air no matter how much she tried to convince herself otherwise. It did not look good. She had taken considerable punishment and was clearly on the defensive. Throughout the battle she could not decide if she was fighting sloppy... or the Karayan man was really that good. His fighting style haunted her as much as his appearance. She fought the growing despair that she would lose the battle. All she could think about was her father. No matter what happened... she had to avenge him. “I... I can’t... lose to this man...” She muttered to herself. Her body was aching. Especially her right arm after the blunt clash a few moments ago. Sweat rolled down her forehead and stung her eyes. She did not dare to wipe it away in the middle of the duel. “Is this a staring match or a battle?” The man called out. She had to hold herself together to avoid biting on his obvious trap. There was something about this man. It was hard to focus. A part of her began to believe it was more than killing her father. She just couldn’t think of a reason why. “See how you like this...” He muttered while moving in. Chris watched as he got closer and prepared to put everything into her next attack. As soon as he made his move she would crush him with what strength she had left. It looked like another power attack as he wound up much like he did before. She waited for the moment. He was only a few steps away when she pulled back. Then to her sheer surprise, he leapt in and struck. It was too fast to counter. She left herself open and took the blow to her chest. “Aaaaaaaaaah!” Her legs buckled as the man pulled away, satisfied with his move. She fell to her knees and nearly dropped her sword in the process. Was that the final blow? Had he really done enough? Her whole body felt light as she fell forward and hit the dusty ground like a sack of flour. Someone yelled at her but she could not make out their voice. Her lungs seized up as she struggled to breathe. Then the pain subsided. Her arms shook as she rolled to her side and climbed up to her feet. She was close to losing it. Too close. The scare shook away some of the fear that blinded her. But would it be enough? Her mind was fraught with questions... but the battle was not over. “I hope this isn’t too much for you,” He said at her fall. “Enough!” Chris coughed. “Enough of your talking...” “Are you ready to yield?” She stared daggers at him. She felt her intentions were perfectly clear. It was not over. “I am not defeated yet.” The Karayan man’s expression changed. His eyes narrowed and his tone became flat. “Milady, I will not hold back.” He promised. Chris did not listen to him. Her armor felt heavier than ever and her sword even more so. In a clearer mind she would know it was impossible to win like this. But her better senses could not win out over the Karayan man before her. She stumbled forward, still struggling for breath. Her opponent moved like the wind and she was helpless to stop him. “Aaaaaaaaaahhhhh!” She screamed. Her dress fluttered under the crushing attack. It was a blow to end the fight. As he warned her, the man did not hold back. He swung quick and brutal, forcing her back. There was nothing she could do as her sword was knocked downward leaving her open. “Ungh! Aaaah! Unnnh!” By the time it was over, so was the duel. Chris’ energy was completely spent. Her armor had nearly been cracked in the process of the relentless attack. All she felt was a stinging pain. Had the man been holding back the entire time? With power that like, she felt he could have killed her if she had been any more reckless. It made sense. This man had killed her father. She was sure of it now. But she could do nothing about it. She was flat on her back, barely conscious as the burning windmill spun above her. “You’re certainly skilled.” The man commented at her fallen form. “Just not enough...” “Damn...” She muttered trying to lift her head. “Damn it...” A chance to avenge her father had turned into a humiliating defeat. How could she be so careless? Why was it so hard to keep her focus on the fight? She had a sick feeling she would never know now. “Too bad, young lady. A female swordsman has a long way to go. But you’ve lost, so now you become a prisoner.” “The ‘White Maiden’ defeated... I never thought I would see the day,” Dupa said. Chris tried to get up. She had too many responsibilities to Zexen to be captured by the Grasslanders. In her defeat she felt like she could see clearly again. All her haste to avenge her father had blinded her. It was no wonder she lost. And now everything was in jeopardy. “No...” Chris muttered. The Karayan man loomed over her and knelt down. He lowered his voice into a whisper as he took her sword away. “If you want to find out about your father, you must find the flame champion.” Percival and Nash ran to her side as the man stepped away and the Grasslander soldiers closed in. But before they could take prisoners, one of their scouts ran up reporting Zexen reinforcements riding up. Dupa sounded the retreat as their raiding party could not take on full force. As the Zexen Knights rode up to the windmill, Chris could think about the man’s words. And the unshakable air of familiarity he gave her. She would not forget this defeat or the words he gave her.