The crude knife only barely missed the flesh of Erika's stomach, but it still slashed and pulled at the meagre fabric covering her malnourished frame. She was already bleeding from a few slashes and cuts along her arms from this duel. Both her and her opponent carried pistols in their hands but both seemed loathe to use them. Both her and the larger man wore similar clothing and both wore skabby red scarves that served as the only means of uniform and affiliation identity in the underhive. Both were members of the Skarblades gang.
Another crowd had gathered around the fighting pit to watch and wagers of food and bullets were being traded back and forth. Erika had challenged this man publicly, and by the gangs own rules he could either respond and fight her in the pit to settle the matter once and for all, or be drummed out of the gang as a coward. He only had one choice, and unfortunately that choice decision was going to be his last.
Anger and hate fuelled the limbs and strength of both fighters. Once again Erika was hopelessly outclassed in terms of size and raw strength but she was faster and already had him bleeding from a few cuts as well.
They fought for nearly fifteen minutes, neither backing down as this duel could only end in the death of one of them. But where as her opponent fought for continued survival, Erika's motives were fuelled by pure unbridled fury and the need for revenge. She worked damned hard to make sure this fight was going to happen and she wasn't about to let it, her life and her recently earned reputation slip through her fingers....
Once again Erika found herself in the same gore soaked fighting pit as she did nearly three weeks ago. That day when she was literally thrown naked to the crowd and forced to fight for her life. That day she killed Damarak and inherited his place in the Skarblades and his property as her own. Since that day Erika's 'orientation' to the gang was a non stop fight for her life, or simply to prevent herself from being serial raped by those who wanted revenge for her killing their old comrade or simply wanting to dominate and test the new blood in the group.
She had already killed one man and fought off several others. What passed for officers in the Skarblades were making no effort to curb this behaviour and Erika quickly realized that they never would come to her aid in this regard. She would either prove herself strong enough to fend for herself or her new life in the Skarblades would be just as miserable and short as she first feared.
After her first.... incident only days after her fight. When she was jumped by four men and abused very, very thoroughly she made sure that it was never going to happen again. Steeling herself for the harsh reality of her new existence she had taken to the life of the Skarblades with heart, exerting enough of her strength to teach those around her that she wouldn't lay back and let herself get raped again. A few broken fingers and a slashed throat or two got that message along quickly enough to any others who tried. And she was already working her way through those first four and exacting her revenge in the only way she could. Luckily the officers of the Skarblades cared as little about intervening on the behalf of others as they did on behalf of her. So she had already killed one of those four men who abused her, Leaving him with his throat slit and his manhood severed and literally crushed into the dirt beneath her heel. Already the threats against her started to diminish. She made it clear with this second fight that she was going after each of them in turn. And she would do the same with any other man who dared lay a finger on her as they did.
Now the second man was facing the full brunt of the same hell-bitch fury that killed Damarak and the the other rapist. She screamed a hateful banshee's scream and managed to slip through his guard quickly enough to slam three inches of crude, lopsided iron straight into her unfortunate opponents knee. As he dropped to the ground in anguish Erika wasted little time whipping her stub pistol across her opponents face with such force it cracked his cheek bone and actually ruined his left eye, tearing it open and letting its clear juices leak all down his face.
Yanking her knife out she batted aside his one last clumsy attempt to defend himself, shooting his hand at the wrist as he attempted to aim his own pistol at her. Now battered bleeding and going into shock from bloodloss he revealed himself to be a most pitiful creature indeed.
Even Erika didn't cry or scream as she was raped by this man despite his cruelty during the act. But this man was streaming tears from his remaining eye and feebly trying to stem the tide of blood flowing from the jagged stump that was his right hand.
The voice in her head, the same one that originally promised her power in exchange for service had not come back. And with it came that familiar and heady rush of feeling and emotion that she remembered. She felt it before when she killed her first rapist, though not quite to the same degree as she sensed the voice was pleased that she had taken the initiative to kill the man and that she displayed his body to broadcast her victory. But still displeased that she did so via a less direct approach. She had killed him when he was alone, and from behind without giving him the chance to fight back or see her face. She sensed a dislike of such uneventful murder from the voice. It was this dissapointment that lead her to make this challenge more public. To force this second man to fight her himself face to face. And now that she had won she felt that voices whispered approval of her deed.
Already those gathered to watch the fight were throwing rocks and dirt at the dying man for having lost them their bets. Already a chant was being taken up to kill him and be done with it. Despite the wounded man's tears he seemed resigned to his fate, and Erika was a little impressed that he had not stooped to begging for his life or any degree of mercy. He fought and he lost... he knew what that meant for him.
The voice compelled her to end him quickly. To not let him expire from bloodloss or feint from shock. That there would be no power gained or message sent unless she actively killed him. Yielding to the will of the crowd and the strange compelling authority of the voice Erika raised her pistol and took her much deserved revenge.