Daoud v Simon

This scene is taken from Robert Shea’s novel, “The Saracen: The Holy War”. It is a fight between Daoud ibn Abdallah and Simon de Gobignon. The full text can be found midway through chapter LXIX.

    They moved slowly around each other. Under the purple and gold surcoat the Frenchman was wearing mail armour from his toes to his fingertips. A tight-laced hood of mail left only his face bare, and his helmet with its nasal bar covered part of his face.
    In this kind of toe-to-toe fight the greater speed of a lightly armoured fighter was not much of an advantage. The weight of mail might slow Simon down a bit, but fatigue would do the same for Daoud.
    The scimitar de Gobignon wielded, that souvenir stolen from some islamic warrior, looked to be at least as good a blade as the one Daoud was using.
    The count sprang and slashed at Daoud’s arm. Daoud stepped back and easily parried the blow.
    He can cut my hand off and that would end the fight. And I might even survive the loss of a hand to be taken prisoner into the bargain. I must not let that happen.
    With a shout Daud drove the point of his saif straight at de Gobignon’s face. Christians used swords for chopping, not stabbing. With a backhanded slash de Gobignon knocked the point aside. He punched with his mailed free hand at Daoud’s chest armour.
    Daoud felt the force of the blow, but he saw de Gobignon wince. A mailed fist could hurt flesh, but when it struck metal the fist would suffer.
    Daoud slashed at de Gobignon’s sword arm just above the elbow.
    Let us see if that mail can withstand my sword.
    De Gobignon winced again, but the saif rebounded without cutting through the chain links, and Daoud felt a jolt in his gauntleted hand.
    The sword is good, but so is the mail. I cannot cut it or stab through it.
    De Gobignon rushed him suddenly, swinging wildly, lips drawn back from clenched teeth. Daoud danced away, a part of his mind pleased that he could move so quickly when he had to, tired as he was. De Gobignon’s wild swings from side to side left his chest exposed. He was relying entirely on his armour, Daoud saw, to protect him.
    Daoud jabbed de Gobignon under the armpit, so hard that he felt the flexible metal of his saif bend. Again the blade failed to penetrate the tightly woven chain mail, but de Gobignon gave a gasp of pain and cut his attack short. Daoud was gratified.
    De Gobignon attacked again, swinging his scimitar furiously at Daoud’s head. He ended the motion with his arm across his face. Daoud gripped his own sword with both hands, and on de Gobignon’s backswing raised it over his head and brought it down with all his strength on the Frenchman’s wrist. The count’s arm was moving into the blow, which gave it even more force.
    The scimitar flew from de Gobignon’s hand. Daoud threw his body against de Gobignon’s and locked his foot behind his opponent’s ankle. His long, thin frame top-heavy in his mail, de Gobignon fell over backward. Daoud stepped forward instantly. Groans and cries of horror were already going up from the Frenchmen in the ring around them.
    Daoud planted his leather-booted foot on de Gobignon’s chest hard enough to knock the wind out of him. He jabbed his saif straight at one of de Gobignon’s few vulnerable places, his right eye, stopping the point a finger’s breadth from the pupil.
    Daoud and de Gobignon remained frozen that way.


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