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Old 11-13-2008, 11:24 AM   #326
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Wrestling Match, continued

Garstan and Crabannan stepped into the ring. Crabannan crouched and shifted from side to side, eyeing Garstan like a prey to be worsted. Garstan opened his eyes wide and exhaled a puff of air, shaking his head in doubt. Crabannan allowed a grim smile. He pounced like a tiger, grabbing Garstan by the right shoulder, placing his left foot behind Garstan's. Garstan tried to duck out of his sudden disadvantage, but found himself on his back and Crabannan on top of him; the match was over almost before it had begun.

Aethelstan and Harreld faced each other. Harreld had been watching Crabannan, and stole a glance his way, apparently impressed. But he gave his full attention to Aethelstan, who was almost as tall as he, but lanky. A canny look came into the fellow's eye; Harreld remembered what he had seen Aethelstan do to Osmund. Sure enough, Aethelstan lowered himself and aimed toward Harreld's midriff with his shoulder for a battering ram. Harreld was prepared; he sidestepped and used his hammerlike right fist to give Aethelstan a good pound on the back just below the offending shoulder, and Aethelstan found himself on all fours. Harreld dropped atop him and took hold of his left arm and midriff the way he'd seen Crabannan do to Matrim; but he remembered what Matrim had done, and didn't trust a back-roll. He used all the force of his planted knees and shoved Aethelstan onto his stomach. Aethelstan splayed himself to increase his center of gravity, but Harreld reached beneath Aethelstan's left shoulder and hip and, using the leverage of his knees against the ground again, and using the great strength of his smithying upper body, hoisted Aethelstan over onto his back, and planted himself on the man's chest. Harreld had won decisively.

The two finalists were allowed a rest and a drink before resuming the contest.

Harreld faced Crabannan in the ring. Harreld was broader of upper body and new how to use leverage as well as did Crabannan, but Crabannan had quickness in his favor. Both had relatively the same stamina, so it would be strength against quickness. Harreld knew that his best chance was to push Crabannan out of the ring. Crabannan knew that his best chance was to use Harreld's mass against him and by craft of technique, get him on his back or out of the ring, whichever opportunity availed itself.

They crouched and circled each other, and circled each other, making feints that the other did not buy. Both began to reveal a mirthless grin as both knew that the each waited for the other to make the first move. Both were patient men. But Crabannan was less patient than Harreld, and made the first move. It was a canny one, calculated to bring a reaction which needed to be the greater move, one big enough to be taken advantage of.

Crabannan dove for Harreld's left shin as if attempting to push it out from under the smith; Harreld pivoted to his left, ready to pounce on Crabannan's exposed back, but it was not there, for Crabannan had rolled past him, come back to his legs, and kicked backward with his left leg against the back of Harreld's left knee. Harreld lost his balance and went down to his knee. Crabannan's left leg found the ground and his back came down on Harreld's right side, so that Harreld fell to his left; Crabannan splayed his legs and flipped as quick as he could while Harreld righted himself: the result was Harreld on all fours, Crabannan atop him as with Matrim before. Both men knew that this was a position from which either wrestler could take advantage depending on who was quickest, and surprise of surprises, Harreld took initiative.

He immediately grabbed Crabannan's hand which was on his midriff, and rolled to his right, and stopped, with Crabannan partially on his back and Harreld's back on top of him. Crabannan knew that working against momentum was a sure way to lose, so he tried to roll through the spin, but Harreld splayed out and weighed him down so much that he found himself on his back. Lithor came in to count to three, but before he could get past "one", Crabannan got off one shoulder and slid as slippery as a fish onto his stomach beneath Harreld; which could not have happened unless Harreld had been on his back. All of these motions had moved them within two strides of the edge. Harreld saw this and began to shove Crabannan toward the edge. Crabannan was bigger and more lithe than either of Harreld's last two opponents, and would not be moved by sheer force.

Nothing happened for minutes as both men strove to hold their own position and not give any advantage to his foe. As time wore on, the greater strength of Harreld began to tell, and Crabannan found himself moved inch by slow inch toward the edge. He gritted his teeth and decided that he must take a risk.

to be continued.....
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