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Old 12-11-2008, 05:25 PM   #373
Nogrod
Flame of the Ainulindalė
 
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QS-fight, round 1, match 2

“So then mate, what should we do?” Stigend said to Garstan, smiling as he poked him with the tip of his staff.

“I suggest you take that Erbrand fellow as I know Harreld better than you.” Garstan answered.

Neither of them could hold their poker and they burst into laughter.

“How nice of you my friend!” Stigend remarked while still laughing. “So you want to send me into the den of lions while you have a nice afternoon with our friend Harreld, right?” Stigend lifted his eyebrow and flashed an even wider smile.

“I had something like that in mind…” Garstan replied and poked Stigend back with his staff. But then he got a bit more serious. “Anyway, do you think I have a chance of standing up with that Erbrand for more than a minute? I’m no soldier but at least you have been trained to be one in your youth. I have better chances standing up with Harreld as he’s slower than I am and I’m not totally ungraced with robustness either. But gods forbid he manages to give me a full blow…”

“I see what you’re after…” Stigend nodded in approval and landed his hand on Garstan’s shoulder. “Okay, that’s the way we go for it. You wait for Harreld’s mistake and beat him, I’ll try to stand up against Erbrand and then you come and rescue me from him. A deal?”

Garstan gave Stigend his hand. “A deal.” They both smiled again. They knew they stood for no chance but except a miracle.

---

"Friend, though we have a quarrel, we must stand side by side in this game. Let us set aside our differences while we are made allies. What say you?" Erbrand said and looked at Harreld with a confidence-seeking look.

After a second of thought Harreld offered his hand to Erbrand. "Right you are. They are my friends but we'll fight against them this time as that is how it goes. You take Stigend, he's the fast one and the one who knows something about fighting. I will see to Garstan." Erbrand nodded.

They shook hands.

---

“Let me give you Garstan and Stigend against Harreld and Erbrand!”, Wilcred shouted as the four men had gathered inside the flagged area. There were deafening cheers from the crowd. The first match had risen the expectations and these were household names all of them – except Erbrand, but even with his short stay on the Mead Hall thus far he had impressed many people, not the least in these games.


Lure the opponent into a rhythm and then surprise him by breaking it! In his head Stigend heard the words of the old warrior who had taught him in melee-fights when he was a young men-at-arms trainee. He felt he had nothing to lose and charged on Erbrand immediately wishing thus to make the fight between them over and done with as soon as possible. To the opposite of what he had told Garstan - to take care of Harreld and then to come to his aid - he thought their only chance hanged on the possibility he could somehow beat Erbrand and then come to his friend’s aid. It seemed an impossible task but he had to try it.

Stigend charged rhythmically and Erbrand was forced to retreat parrying the blows from Stigend’s attack. Garmund was looking intently at the cornerflag to see whether Erbrand would retreat off bounds. Suddenly Stigend broke the rhythm and halted for a second after a blow, reversing the grip he had on the staff as fast as he could and went on hitting Erbrand from the same direction simultaneously making a full circle himself. But somehow he was not quick enough, or Erbrand was. But the result was that Erbrand managed to parry the hit and unbalance Stigend for long enough to gain the momentum. And to score the first hit while Stigend was reorientating himself.

“First hit against Stigend!” Wilcred shouted while Stigend cursed with pain. Garstan and Harreld were still circling each other walking slowly sideways with a staff’s distance careful not to make any hasty moves and looking each other into the eyes. They knew each other too well to try any foolish tricks.

But at the same time Erbrand turned to attack and Stigend was the one retreating. After a few foreseeable clashes of the staves Erbrand made a forceful swing from right to left which Stigend managed to duck under. But Erbrand didn’t hold the motion of the staff to hit back from the other direction but let his right hand grip loose thus letting the staff go with it’s own momentum alkl the way around his body grasping it from the right side from behind his back. And before Stigend could realise it Erbrand had gotten hold of the staff with both hands – backhanded – and using the initial momentum of the staff going around he aimed at the hollows of his knees from behind.

Stigend fell backwards and the crowd held their breath for the trick they had just seen. Erbrand didn’t waste time but made a quick change of the hold once more turning to deal the final blow on the chest of Stigend who would lie down on his back.

The crowd went “Ooohh!” simultaneously with Erbrand’s astonishment when the tip of the staff hit the empty ground. For Stigend had managed to pull himself up from the ground at the very moment he landed on it making a half somersault backwards. Stunned by the unexpected, Erbrand didn’t manage to use the situation to his advance. But Stigend picked his staff from the ground and hit with full strength Erbrand’s staff into which he was still leaning with his weight. Erbrand lost his balance and Stigend hit him to the back as he went down while rising up himself.

“First hit against Erbrand!”, Wilcred yelled and the crowd went wild even if half of them hadn’t yet come to grips with what exactly had happened. Erbrand hit the ground face down and Stigend raised his staff up in the air ready to make a full blow. But he turned to look at Wilcred first and yelled “Call! I don’t want to hurt him!”

“Call taken! Erbrand is out!” The crowd cheered like there was no limit.


Meanwhile Garstan and Harreld had also gotten into action even if slowly and carefully. Garstan was the first to take initiative and Harreld seemed somewhat reluctant to fight mainly parrying the blows. And Garstan indeed scored a hit quite easily in the beginning.

The crowd was wondering about that at the same time as they tried to follow the much more lively and eventful match between Erbrand and Stigend going on simultaneously.

Those who had noticed there being a sort of bad air between Harreld and Erbrand were sure it was because of that: Harreld would not wish to fight for the glory of Erbrand against his friends; so it was an issue of loyalities. Those who knew there was something between Harreld and Ginna were sure that was because he tried to impress Ginna showing he was not just a brutal force but a gentleman. Then again some thought it was just the fact that he was such a gentle person who didn’t wish to harm his long time friend Garstan even if he was more powerful than him – and there were also those who just thought he was no good in fighting; he was a big man good in his art and heart but not a fighter.

Be what it may, Garstan managed a second hit as well. But that clearly changed things.

The blow Garstan gave hit Harreld to this fingers and from there the staff glided to hit his upper arm – and from there his nose. It did hurt. His nose indeed started bleeding.

“Second hit against Harreld! The hit to the head not intentional!”, Wilcred declared.

Suddenly Harreld changed and started the attack. The blows rained on Garstan who had to back away with every hit. The first hit landing on Garstan’s midriff sent him gasping for air but he managed to pull himself together, taking two more steps backwards and trying to breathe again. Harreld pressed on not giving Garstan a chance to recollect himself fully.

“Out!”, Javan – who was responsible of the nearest corner - called as Garstan backed away from Harreld’s blows over the flagged line.

“Garstan is out!” Wilcred called and the crowd applauded to both contestants.


Stigend had just heard Wilcred announcing Erbrand’s defeat and was trying to compose himself when he heard Wilcred calling Garstan off as well. He turned slowly to face Harreld but Harreld took no time before charging him.

Stigend tried to duck the charge but had no time for it and was plain overrun by Harreld. Stigend fell down to his back and immediately rolled around trying to get away from Harreld but suddenly he felt a heavy weight on his back, and before he had time to do anything a staff was pressing his neck and therefore his face to the ground. Harreld had stumbled over him but had managed to regain his balance and his staff fast enough and was now sitting on his back pressing the staff on his neck.

“Call!” Harreld managed to pant as it had not been an easy thing for him to do – and partly not intentional either. He was breathing heavily.

Wilcred looked at the situation. Stigend could have fought back if it was a question of life and death but here it seemed clear. And Stigend didn’t show any wish to fight any more.

“Stigend is out! … Harreld and Erbrand go through to the next roud!”

The crowd burst with cheers. This had been exciting indeed.

Last edited by Nogrod; 12-11-2008 at 06:00 PM.
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