Tar'airah noticed the movement and quickly jumped in front of the redhead, letting the sword graze her left arm.
Caranthia noticed the protective move and her eyes widened into hysteria, "you... you protect her? YOU PROTECT THIS OVER ONE OF YOUR OWN?!" She backed up, in disgust. "You... YOU KNEW!" she screamed.
The crowd around stood in silence watching the scene unfold. Caranthia was walking around the couple in the center, growing more hysterical by the second.
"Knew? Knew what?" She stood directly in front of Willow, covering every possible hit Caranthia could attempt to make.
"YOU KNEW SHE WAS THE KEY!" She screamed at the top of her lungs.
"Key...?" This time Tar'airah couldn't keep up with Caranthia's ramblings. All that mattered was keeping Willow out of the aim of the insane brunette slowly stalking her every back-step, sword raised. Blood slowly trickled down her arm where the blade had touched.
"YOU WILL NOT DESTROY MY WORLD AGAIN! YOU WILL NOT DESTROY MY WORLD!" With that, Caranthia came rushing forward, sword raised straight for Tara's heart.
Tar'airah had to think quickly, it seemed as though everything was happening in slow motion as she saw the face of death running straight at her. In a quick rush of thoughts, she did the only thing she could think of before dying. She turned her head slightly to the figure behind her and spilled the words, "I love you."
That done, she pushed Willow with all her strength clear across the rink, backing away from Caranthia's racing body. She looked down, looking furiously for a weapon of any kind.
Where did I throw those damn swords?
Searching furiously, she spotted a glint on the ground about ten feet to her left, but just as she saw it, Caranthia was upon her.
She caught the brunette's raised arms as the sword was falling down to her brow.
Caranthia pushed down with all her strength upon Tar'airah's hands, slowly lowering the blade closer and closer to skin, "you... will... die... too. Right... before... I kill her."
All the pain, all the worry, and all the anger were finally being relented onto the one person she despised above all. I'm here for you, mama... you shall live again with her death... Thoughts and images spurted through the girl's brain as she came closer and closer to ending her suffering and revenging her mother's senseless slaughter.
Caranthia was sweating under the pressure of her muscles straining against Tar'airah's. She stared directly into the eyes of her enemy and saw something spark within the blonde's eyes. Something she had tried to pull out several times before, had tried to provoke on many an occasion during sparing events, but always failed.
Tar'airah let a feral growl rip through her body.
"Hatred can be a very powerful thing."
Tar'airah launched Caranthia's arms up off of her.
"It can easily be used to manipulate."
As Caranthia back-peddled, Tar'airah was upon her, knocking the sword out of the brunette's hand, and then kicking her sharply in the stomach.
"It can give immense strength to those that wield it for a period of time."
Caranthia fell towards the ground with the received blow.
"But above all, it can be very, very dangerous, Kaleh. Do not use or abuse it, my child."
Tar'airah kicked the face of the brunette swiftly.
Coughing for air, clutching her stomach as blood dribbled down her chin Caranthia could see Tar'airah backing away a few feet, stooping for something.
The form of Tar'airah came back into plain view as she stood hovering over the form of Caranthia, huddled on the ground, raising her hands upward.
Looking up, the brunette saw the blade that would cut into her skin glinting in the flickering light of the torches. The warm liquid slowly descended down her face, as she lifted up a hand in mercy against the oncoming blade... so long... She had waited so long for her triumph. For her mother's rebirth through victory. And it would end like this? All end...
But before any further movement could be made, a scream bellowed over the ground, up the trees and into the sky, "NO!"
The crowd sharply looked towards the owner of the voice. The figure of a slight, strangely dressed woman raced forward, her red hair now let loose from the confines of her even stranger hat.
Tar'airah looked up, and saw Willow running towards her.
No... Willow, you don't understand...
Willow stopped abruptly between the blonde and the whimpering brunette on the arena ground, glaring profusely, "Are you INSANE? Put the sword down NOW!"
The crowd of women around the rink stood in awe as they watched their finest warrior be yelled at - be talked down to - by... an OUTSIDER?
"Tara, put it down. Now," Willow's anger dissipated and worry replaced it, "Please... you'll never live with yourself if you do this."
Tar'airah looked up into the green eyes pleading with her as her own flooded with tears. Why did this have to be so hard?
"Please, I don't want to lose you to this..." Willow looked down at the huddled figure of Caranthia below, " She's not worth it... you know that."
The blonde mumbled something incoherently.
"What?" Willow asked desperately trying to make eye contact.
"She threatened you," came the soft voice again, tears dribbling down her cheeks, as if to excuse her actions.
"It wouldn't be the first time," Willow softly added, "Please, Tara, give me the sword."
Several seconds passed. Finally Tara looked directly into Willow's eyes, as if to ask the question was this really happening? It didn't feel real. It felt like some surreal dream she couldn't wake from.
"Please," came the whisper and open hand.
Without breaking eye contact, Tara handed the weapon over. She stepped away from the huddled form of Caranthia, who in turn scuttled away in the direction of the Calethia's closest rink side.
Willow quickly tossed the weapon away, and grasped Tara's hands. She noticed the blonde was shaking. She was looking down again at the ground, letting the swift flow of tears fall to the ground.
The blonde quietly cried, clinging to Willow's hands, resting her head on the redhead's shoulder.
"Tara? Please, talk to me."
She did not answer. Instead another voice spoke up.
"I think... explanations are in order."
Willow looked up to the gruff voice, as it had been the only other one to speak English to her in over a week.
Tara looked up as well, seeing the grand purple robes, hearing the sage voice, knowing the face.