"Well if you feel so badly about it, you can fight me now." Kona's arrogant smile nearly incapacitated her.
Surely he was jesting?
"Fight you? I think not. I am not giving you that kind of satisfaction." She looked over his strong male body. Too male for her, she would appreciate him from afar, but she knew better than to play with men like him--men who played with women and then tossed them aside. Kivra knew his type, the biggest warriors who were the most handsome could have any woman eating out of their hand, and they often had several women.
"Well if you won't issue the challenge then I will." He moved towards her. He stopped when he was only a breath from her. "I challenge you to a battle, Princess."
"How dare you challenge me?" Kivra curled up her lips, a nervous energy invading her body. The words still hung in the air, stinging her ears. Kivra sounded a little childish even to her own ears. The man was just goading her into making a stupid mistake, something she could not afford to do, if she were to accept such a rash offer.
She looked nervously to his waiting men. All of them warriors. All of them there to support their leader, who came here to challenge her, a woman. What kind of man would do such a thing?
Only a man with no honor.
Only a barbarian who did not care anything for treating women any different from men. She answered her own question.
In her country, women may not have the same rights as men, but they were protected. Women were known as the weaker sex, yet they were respected. Women were treated with honor and always with respect as mothers and as wives. They could never physically equal a man's physical power, and so they were never allowed any real power. Even the right to own land was not allowed to a woman.
She was still flummoxed that Kona would even consider fighting her. Even the barbarians of Kapomo had ethics, or so she had thought. This personal challenge made her question those morals. It was not like she had any males left in her family to fight for her honor or her cause.
Kapomo must be a land full of thieves and kidnappers.
"Do you accept?" He grinned down at her. They were standing on even ground, but the man towered over her by a good foot. All the warrior men of Kapomo were large men, but he seemed exceptionally large and exceptionally powerful. A muscle pulsed in his neck as he awaited her decision.
Kivra looked at him for a moment, letting her gaze trail over his well-muscled warrior body. It would be no contest. She let her fingers feel the reassurance of her sword at her hip, feeling the engraving well worn on the handle. His was a body that would soon overpower hers within minutes. But with her skill and experience, she could give him at least a little challenge. If he'd miscalculated her skills before offering the challenge, that might give her an edge against his strength. Perhaps if the fight were short, she could end it as the winner.
"Why would you challenge me?" Of course she already knew why in her heart. He wanted to usurp her power. Her father had been the Shirkan, the unquestioned leader by strength. He retired, because of age, and had not accepted a fight for years. When he died three months ago, he left her the sole survivor of the clan. No other man had dared to fight her for her leadership in her own clan. With no brothers or any other men in the family to fight for her, Kivra would have to fight for her own honor.
"Perhaps, because you have something I want..." his words may have been innocent but his eyes were insinuating something wicked. The way he let his words trail off, Kivra had guessed he had bed play on his mind, like most men. But unlike most men, he figured out she would only give herself to the strongest of the lot. She needed a man who was stronger than she; a man who had something to offer her, like himself.
"I am just trying to say that there is nothing I have to offer you." She wanted nothing more than to put an arrogant man like him in his place.
"Oh but I disagree, you have much to offer me. You will have to let me be the judge of that, Princess..." There was no doubt what he was alluding to when he stared her down with that hungry gaze. His eyes stayed far too long on her chest for her liking.