This is a scene from Sleeper of the Wildwood Fugue and it does contain minor spoilers. Although, I’m not sure if that’s a big thing given how long the story has been out. It should still be a lot of fun since Dariana doesn’t get that many chances to shine and here you have her in her debut book.
All noise and movements stop as if time has been frozen, but Stephen senses that it is something else. The flicker of a fist appears in front of his face, disappearing immediately after it strikes. Stumbling back, he feels a knee hit his stomach and an elbow colliding with the base of his skull. Jumping to his feet, he remembers Dariana and pushes through the mental fog to sense her presence. He is concerned that it takes so long and by the time he sees his sister, the silver-haired woman is delivering a violent kick to his face. Stephen falls to the ground and vanishes before the powerful champion can follow up on her last attack.
“You’ve gotten stronger since our last fight,” he says, reappearing near Luke. He wipes his bleeding lip with the half-elf’s shirt, gently smacking him on the cheek. “Though I doubt you’re powerful enough to save these champions. Just sit back and watch like you’ve always done. It isn’t like they’re your friends.”
“They are my friends,” Dariana declares as she reaches into Stephen’s mind. She has his arms rise and clap, freeing Kira from her own weapon. She slaps Luke on the back to let him know that he can sprint ahead and catch the falling heiress. “I’m going to give you one chance to run away, brother. We’re family, so I don’t want to kill you.”
“The same father, but that doesn’t make use family.”
“Sadly, we have another thing that bonds us.”
Stephen chuckles and spits blood at Dariana’s sand-encrusted shoes. “Immortality? Unique power? I’m at a loss in figuring out what you’re talking about. Now stand aside like daddy’s little girl and prepare to be put back to sleep.”
The moment he turns toward Luke and Kira, a crushing blow snaps his right arm. He grimaces in pain, which is agonizing due to Dariana enhancing his pain receptors. As he heals his flopping limb, she shatters his ribs with a kick and sends him to the floor. With a furious growl, Stephen reappears on his feet and punches his sister in the face. She stumbles back and spits out a tooth before leaping forward to drive her elbow into his chest, the blow sending her opponent skidding across the room. He charges forward, disappearing at the last instant to come at her from the side and deliver a shoulder-breaking strike. The siblings go hit for hit, the sound of snapping bone and dripping blood echoing throughout the manor.
“This is all you have?” Stephen gasps as he hurls a dagger at Dariana. Her false image disappears upon being hit and the real one knees him in the kidney. “Okay, that last trick was a good one. Still it’s nothing that can stop me from winning. You merely turned off your pain, which will catch up to you once you run out of energy. I only have to outlast you since I can heal all the damage you inflict.”
“All the physical damage,” Dariana points out with a cruel smile. She cracks her knuckles, which plunges the room into an eerie silence. “I hate to admit that I enjoy inflicting pain on people who anger me. It doesn’t happen often thanks to you and father. The easiest way to enrage someone is by threatening their friends and family, but you made sure I never had any of those. To be honest, big brother, I’ve always dreamed about defeating you. It’s only now that I feel the strength to do so.”
“Give me your best shot, little sister.”