Disclaimer: This question might be in the wrong place. I wasn't sure if this is the case, so please flag it for migration and let me know if it belongs somewhere else.
I am writing a novel. In the novel, there is a battle in which two people fight to the death, using swords. At some point during the battle, it becomes apparent to the hero (who is one of the combatants) that the only way he can defeat his enemy is to sacrifice himself. There is no way out of this conclusion; it is the only way to slay the enemy.
How can I make this realistic? To the uninformed reader, I could say just about anything about swordplay and he'd accept it. If the reader happens to know a thing or two about combat, I will probably have a problem. I want to make sure I can convince those informed few as well.
This battle is central to the entire novel. The hero must realize that he has to sacrifice himself, and this must be the only way to kill the enemy. Additionally, the hero will die in this attempt. If any of these things are not true, then the entire novel will fall apart. This is the most important scene in the novel; I have to get it right.
- The combatants are fighting in an arena. The arena can be as large or small as necessary, but it has to be enclosed. I can compromise on the shape of the arena if needed (it is currently circular).
- Both combatants are using a version of long-sword. It is my understanding that these swords can be held in one hand, but have the room for two hands when delivering powerful blows. If this is incorrect, please let me know.
- The enemy is not human. He is slightly taller, and slightly stronger, than the hero. He does not wear armor, but possesses a skin which can only be cut by either of the long-swords.
- The hero does not have access to steel or metal of any kind (save his sword), meaning that the best armor he can possibly have is toughened leather.
- The hero is in a state of minor malnourishment, and could also be short on sleep, if necessary.