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Old 11-19-2008, 02:11 PM   #335
Groin Redbeard
Ghost Prince of Cardolan
 
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Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Facing the world's troubles with Christ's hope!
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Groin Redbeard is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.Groin Redbeard is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
Archery Contest

One by one the players began to file back on to the green where the game would begin. Each of the players held his own bow and a quiver of arrows awaited them, marking where they should stand. The standing targets were all set and the soldiers who were playing in the game hurried to get their own bows.

All the players were soon present, Lithor took center stage and began to announce how the game would go. There were to be three levels of difficulty, the first being the ordinary shot with a bow at fifty paces, second being the moving targets, and the next being the distance shoot of 150 paces. The targets each had three rings: white on the outermost, black for the middle, and white again for the center.

Everyone lined up in their place as Lithor was about to give the signal to start. Arrows were nocked on the strings, a hush fell over the crowd as Lithor raised his hand, signaling for the archers to draw their bows. With a sudden yell which made the audience jump, Lithor dropped his hand and the bows sang in unison, the deep thump of the Balvir and Wilcred's bows mingling with the sharp twang of of the shorter ones. Again, the bows twanged as the archers set off another volley, Crabannan pulling the bow back nearly to his ear while the Garmund, Cnebba, and Javan pulled their bows back with the greatest difficulty to their chins. Eodwine was laughing at the excitement, while Erbrand mechanicaly reached down for his arrows and pulled his string back as if it was second nature to him. The experienced soldiers took their times with the shots they made, knowing that it would be fatal to their position in the game if they threw away a shot. Dan finished first, firing his shots off in rapidly, with Thornden firing last.

When the firing ceased Lithor went to inspect the scores. Garmund and Javan brough up the rear with both boys having two arrows missing the targets and three finding their marks, one in each of the rings. Next came Balvir Wilcred and Crabanna, all of their arrows penetrating deep in the target but never entering the center ring. Cnebba tied with Matrim with four arrows in the second ring and on in the center, it was a great achievement and he was soon hailed by all as a master bowman. Erband came in third with two arrows in the center ring and two in just outside the center, but with one arrow missing the target completely. Thornden had made first place with Eodwine making a close second. Both had made Three arrows in the center ring, but one of Eodwine's arrows hit the outer ring.

All the players were smiling with what they had achieved, it was no small feat to shoot fifty paces and hit the target, but Lithor and his helpers immediately moved on to the next game. Hitting the moving target was a one shot one chance opportunity. A barrel head three feet in diameter was rolled out and each player would take his turn shooting it.

First up was Erbrand, the barrel head was rolled parrallel to where he was standing at about twenty-five feet away. The head was flung out and whithin seconds of it leaving Lithor's hand, Erbrand had nocked his arrow, drawn his bow, and fired with pin point accuracy, hitting the barrel square in the middle. Erbrand beemed with delight.

Dan came up in turn and readied himself, he shot and his arrow found the mark on the outer rim. Javan, Cnebba, and Garmund tried next with each fairing as well as Dan. Next was Crabannan, but when the barrel head was thrown Crabannan drew his bow with such ferocity that the string snapped.

"That's a good bow I'll have you know, Crabanna," said Lithor, "but I'm afraid that your charm was too much for it, this isn't wresteling you know." Lithor laughed and Crabannan grinned back, he was permitted to try again and this time struck the barrel several inches from the center.

Wilcred shot scored a little worse than Crabannan, Balvir tied with Eodwine who had struck two feet away from the circumfrance. Matrim scored a mighty shot, causing the arrow to pass right through the wood, but Balvir insists that Matrim in fact missed. Thornden waited until the last possible moment, until the barrel head slowed down so much that it nearly toppled, then Thornden let fly his arrow are pierced it a mere hairs width away from the center.

Erbrand was the winner, with Thornden next and Crabannan after him!

Now the archers prepared for the distance shot of 150 paces. The targets were that of the first round and were put far out in the plains. The boys despared at this, knowing that their short bows could never match the adult's longbows. Still they were determined to try.

Their fears were confirmed when their arrows fell short of the targets. Wilcred and Balvir were also eliminated from the first round, when their arrows caught a breeze and drifted to the righ of the targets. This was blamed on bad luck, they were both excellent archers, but they bore it well and simply shook their heads at the misfortune.

Eodwine on the other hand had made an admirable shot, nearly hitting the mark in the center. Everyone else hit the targets, but Crabannan and Erbrand hit on the outer ring, and they knew if some of the other players wouldn't mess up that they would be out in the next round.

Again the archers fired and again each of the arrows found their mark, but Crabannan struck on the outside with Dan and they both were eliminated. The crowd cheered as it was announced that Eodwine had made another almost perfect shot, landing right inside the center ring. Thornden struck the middle ring with the rest, but unless the rest would mess up Erbrand was doomed.

The crowd held their breath as the arrows went soaring in the air to their targets, but Matrim's never made it, he over shot. However, Erbrand pulled through with what he called a "lucky" shot landing dead in the center. Eodwine fell short, ending his magnificent by winning streak, but he had made excellent scores that allowed him to continue. However, he missed again and was eliminated.

Thrice the soldier and trapper fired, thrice the crowd cheered the results, no one was attaining the higher hand in the matter. At last after the fourth try, Thornden spoke up.

"Lithor, this is no contest for archers such as us. Will you not move the targets for us to have a better shot?"

"We shall double the distance!" Lithor cried.

Thornden bit his lip, he did not mean for the targets to be moved that far. Erbrand stood tall as it was announced and twiddled and arrow in his hands, the distance would surely match their skills as archers and the limits of the primitive bow he carried.

Both missed on the first try and it was then declared that the closest arrow to the mark would win the game. The crowd was on edge, the soldiers cried for Thornden urging him on like a warrior on the battle field, while the faint cry of, "Erbrand" began to grow. A loud cry of, "Thornden!" was heard as the soldier let loose his arrow, it was neatly draw back to his ear and the arrow flew high before it fell with a thud on the target. Again the cry of "Thornden!" was taken up as he fell back to his seat to calmly watch his contestant.

During the shouting, Erbrand thought he caught the voice of Kara urging him on, it gave him heart and he fearlessly pulled the bow back as far as he could, corrected his arch and let fly his arrow. The release of the pressure on the bow was so sudden that his bow snapped in two, Erbrand looked on in horror as he wondered how this would affect his arrow's flight. It hit right within the center ring, a full foot away from Thornden's arrow.

Erbrand gave a cry of truimph, and the crowd answered back with cheers of "Thornden, Erbrand!" Eodwine looked proud as the two contestants grasped hands.

"There you go Harreld," the Eorl said to the blacksmith, "not only do I have the best wrestlers in all of Rohan but the best archers as well."
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