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Old 12-07-2008, 11:04 AM   #361
Groin Redbeard
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Several of Thornden’s words struck a chord of remorse in Erbrand. He now realized that he shouldn’t have exploded at the soldier, which surely would not have prompted his scolding. Though for the most part Thornden was just in his tie-raid, Erbrand still resented the fact that the man laughed at him and thus prompted his heated response and then in turn prompted Thornden’s scolding of Erbrand for doing so. Doing the best he could, Erbrand restrained his intentions of striking the man across the face, and tried to respond as civilly as possible.

“Your words cut deep Thornden,” Erbrand said, forcing the words out with an effort. “Though I am sorry for raising voice against you, I am not regretful of my approaching you. As much as you have told me, you have no feelings toward Kara. Then why this magnificent speech, as if prepared or rehearsed on another, for such an occasion? Therefore, I repeat my threat: stay away from Kara!”

Erbrand was not yelling, but his words held enough weight and venom in it to cause Thornden to spring to his feet, ready to fight if it was the trapper’s choice. Erbrand had been straining himself to hold back a dam of anger he was feeling at the moment, and this caused the dam to break.

“I also thank you for your kind opinion of me,” Erbrand said in mock appreciation. “While it might be proper for soldiers of the eorl to insult a man to his face, it is not so where I am from. You, sir, are no less a fool as I am, not fit to put judgement on others.

“I will also thank you to keep your nose out of my private business,” Erbrand continued with outward disdain and pointing his finger at the younger man as if it were a weapon that he could stab Thornden with. “The affairs of Crabannan and I are no concern of yours, the events of this morning were unknown, as far as I knew. Have the lord Eodwine’s soldiers sunken to eavesdropping over their subject’s doings, or send their brats to obtain information for them? Your words of correction are haughty and befit a royal cub, are you also to subjugate my actions as well as my allegiance? Handle your situations in a way that you think best, but do not think of lording your advice over me again. Thornden might be chief of soldiers here at Scarburg but he is not a wise ruler of men, as is your superior. You may command my allegiance, but you cannot command my conscience and I tell you that I will not yield that right to any man, not to you, not to the eorl, not to the king himself!”

“Insolent wretch!” Thornden hissed under his breath, now as ready as Erbrand to start the fight, which had miraculously delayed itself so far.

“There is nothing I would like better than a fight with you, Thornden, and if not for the presence of so many people I would feign have already started one. I am sure that a “noble” such as yourself would not think of doing such a thing,” Erbrand wanted to wound Thornden’s pride, as Thornden had done to him, with these last words, seeing how ready the soldier was to fight. “But see, even now Lithor stands ready to begin the staff-fight. So I shall wait to face you in the games and deal a good manny damaging blows to you before I am sure to be bested by your superior skill.”

Last edited by Groin Redbeard; 12-07-2008 at 12:30 PM.
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Old 12-07-2008, 04:12 PM   #362
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"Now hear, hear!" Lithor called the people who had spreaded around the one-time-to-be front-yard after the sackfight. "The quarterstaves have been brought forwards and the battlefield has been marked... Hear, hear! The next game is about to begin!"

Lithor gazed around and saw people gathering around while some others seemed still to be busy with their discussions.

"Let me call forwards the caretaker and the judge of the competition... Wilcred!"

There were applauses as the veteran soldier came forwards and turned to face the gathering crowd.

"Now my friends, Lithor here has other duties so I have been chosen to represent the authority around here. And my word will be the final word indeed."

Wilcred wasn't basically the entertainer or the smooth-talker but when faced with a duty he took pride in performing it well.

"So let me remind you of the rules", he started as people were pouring in around the flagged square the fight would take place. "Security first. Any deliberate hits on the head of an opponent will lead to an immediate elimination of that contestant. And if someone hits another to the head because of negligence or thoughtlessness, that contestant will be eliminated as well. The decision as to when that is the case is solely mine."

Wilcred looked around to see that everyone understood even if he thought a few of the contestants hadn't yet arrived. But he continued nevertheless. "Also anyone straying outside the fighting area is eliminated from the game. We have keen eyes reporting on that!" With it he pointed to the youngsters who were situated at the cornerpoles. The crowd gave a cheer to them.

"It should go without saying that if someone gives up or is knocked down so that he can't rise up in decent time he is eliminated from the game. But as we are having a friendly game and not any brutal death-match, three clean hits to the body will suffice for elimination of a contestant as well - if someone is able to take three hits in the first place without surrendering." Some people thought Wilcred was smiling at that point but it was hard to say.

"And anyone hitting an opponent who is down will be not only eliminated from the game but will face a further punishment from me - and I believe from all the other contestants, collectivily! Just remember the chivalric conduct in the middle of the fight. There will be bruises but let's not injure anyone. If you are in a position to deal a decisive blow to your opponent who is down just call it." Wilcred felt stupid to voice the last one but there were so many new people around both in the ranks of the men at arms and others he just felt a need to make the point.

"Could I have the contestants here then?"
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Old 12-07-2008, 07:25 PM   #363
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Eodwine

Eodwine and Degas had returned just in time for the sack fight. After they had cheered together with much laughter throughout, they walked side by side to the chairs they had occupied before, to wait for the quarterstaff competition. She had looked at him with a curious glint in her eye - one of the many things that had always kept him interested in her - and he had asked with a single word what was on her mind. Saeryn said, “I was just thinking how wonderful, if not slightly odd it is, that since coming to Scarburg your people have seemed to find their mates!”

"Not just his people," Degas interrupted, approaching from behind. "Remember that it was in Eodwine's halls that I met my Linduial as well. Perhaps it is something in the water." He departed with a smile before either of them could offer a retort.

"Nothing odd about it," Eodwine commented as they took their seats. "Here we have many unattached young men and women. What could be more natural than likely couples emerging? But yes, not only wonderful, but very promising. What I'm wondering is, what of Thornden? He seems a likely up and comer, and yet know lass seems to be quite the fit for him, nor he for her, whoever that might be.

"But just between you and me, I think that if our smith had not gotten such a fire lit in his heart for Ginna, I would have expected that she'd make a good match for our Thornden. What think you?" Before Saeryn could answer, the quarterstaff fight was announced and Eodwine was called upon to take his spot . "My apologies," he bowed, "I must be off. Cheer me on!"

Rowenna

Rowenna had watched Degas return with Eodwine from their private walk. She had wanted to speak to Degas again, but the sack fight grabbed everyone's interest and she let the matter be. When it was done, Degas moved quickly in the wake of Eodwine and Saeryn, then passed them by in pursuit of some unknown quarry. She sighed. Her words with him would have to wait. She kept an eye out for him as the games continued.

Harreld

Harreld laughed long and loud at the outcome of the sack fight, certainly not at Erbrand, but at the sheer spunk of Kara for pulling out the unexpected victory the way she did it. But upon second thought, he guessed that he would have fared no better had it been he and Ginna. "I dare say," he said to her, "that you would have caught me in the same way."

Ginna offered a smiling response, but her words were lost to Harreld's hearing by a sudden outburst before them. Erbrand and Thornden were exchaning hard words. Harreld frowned. He heard Kara's name bandied about by both of them.

"This is not good," Harreld said. "What ails the two of them?"

Then they both heard the now oft repeated threat from Erbrand: 'stay away from her!'

"It seems I must change my words. What ails Erbrand? But I have my answer already." He kept his answer in his head, however. He counted Thornden a good friend, though they did not get much chance to talk. The almbudsman was stout and true, and his courtesy was boundless. This Erbrand was behaving like a drunken lout. That Harreld also kept to himself. Then again, Harreld had seen his brother Garreth behave often enough like a drunken lout, but always comical. This was not comical at all. Harreld's brows lowered and he disengaged his hand from Ginna's.

"Excuse me, my lass, I must stand by the side of my friend." If Ginna offered words of support or fear, he gave no regard. He strode forward, glowering, and stood as tall and dour as he knew how not a yard behind, silently glaring at Erbrand.
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Old 12-07-2008, 07:47 PM   #364
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Thornden

Thornden heard a step behind him, but he didn’t turn. His attention was locked on Erbrand. This had passed the act of folly stage. Erbrand’s words were intentionally insulting and meant to light any temper however mild. Thornden’s eyes flashed angrily, but he kept his mouth shut and made no movement whatsoever.

Behind him, a voice spoke out dangerously. “If you deal him treacherously in the games, once he’s bested you, I’ll do it again.”

Erbrand looked beyond Thornden at the speaker, his eyes sending sparks. “He may need your help anyway,” he said. Harreld moved forward swiftly, closing in on Erbrand with an unmistakable look on his face.

Thornden turned and interceded. “No, Harreld! Not here and not now.” He dragged him back by his arm and Harreld gave way. Thornden turned again to Erbrand. “You are mistaken, Erbrand, in what I said. I can not see what your intent or your fear is here. I will not fight you. Not now, and unless chance puts us together in the contest without possible avoidance, I will not fight you there, either. Now let’s go, and let’s not hear any more of this.”
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Old 12-08-2008, 08:22 AM   #365
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First round of Q-staff fight announced

"Now I would like to ask for our dear Kara to pick up two pebbles from this hat I have here to find out which are the the two first games today!" Wilcred said and people started cheering and calling her name enthusiastically.

When she finally came forwards Wilcred withheld the hat for a second eyeing the people around. "Now this will be a fight between pairs for otherwise we would still be fighting when the night falls and we have other games to come. And because we have six pairs, two of them will get a free ride to the second round." There were some scattered mumbles and grumbles but most people seemed to think it a good, or at least a tolerable idea.

"Now I have decided that Lord Eodwine and Thornden as the two highest ranking officials of this Mead Hall will get straight to the second round, as well as our veteran soldiers Balvir and Lithor. You know we older men don't have the feet of you younger ones any more and we grow tired after a lot of action... so it's only fair as these men have fought more than you younger ones combined anyway." People smiled and some cheered, seemingly accepting the decision.

Suddenly Wilcred met the eyes of Crabannan and felt a need to add: "Except Crabannan here, but he's no youngster either. Sorry mate, but you'll have to show your stamina here." With that he winked him an eye and turned back to face Kara.

"Okay my dear, pick two pebbles and give them to me one at the time." Kara did what was asked of her.

"So our first match is one between... Aethelstan and Osmund! ... And that is against..." He took the second pebble from Kara. "Against Dan and Crabannan!" The crowd cheered with anticipation. The two young soldiers against the two newcomers. This would indeed be a match worth seeing.

"And the second match will be that between..." Wilcred nodded to Kara to give him the remaining pebbles just for formality. And he indeed looked at the pebbles Kara placed into his palm before announcing the second match. "Garstan and Stigend against Harreld and Erbrand! The craftsmen fight!!!" The crowd cheered even more than the last time. It would be very interesting indeed to see how those respected craftsmen would do in a fight which wasn't exactly their homeground.

Little did Wilcred or most of the others know about what had just happened between Erbrand and Harreld. But the two looked at each other studying the other's expression closely. This would not be the easiest of companies.
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Old 12-08-2008, 11:24 AM   #366
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QS-fight, round 1, match 1

After receiving their staffs Dan and Crabannan shook hands and wished each other good luck. “You wish to go for either especially, Drúedan?” Crabannan asked. Dan shook his head slowly looking at the soldier of fortune in the eye. “Let’s see what they do and act accordingly… Northener” he answered. They exchanged smiles.

“They will press on from the beginning so let’s just wait for their mistakes, I’ve been in a fight or two. Just don’t wear yourself down, let them do the work in the beginning.” Crabannan hissed to his companion as they walked into the flagged area. Dan nodded.

---

“Okay Aeth… I know what you’re thinking. And I do disagree.” Osmund took Aethelstan by the arm and drew him a few steps back as they were approaching the flagged area. “You feel bitter because of losing your third in command status to an oldie and you wish to challenge that Crabannan-fellow just because of his age. But you will make it too personal even if it wasn’t him you lost your place… You’ll lose your wits with him – and then you lose. I know you well enough to see that. Leave him to me and take care of the Drúadan. You can then help me finish the odd-warrior off if he proves tricky. I’ll hold against him that time – and it shouldn’t take you too long to be clear with that little guy.”

Aethelstan was about to protest but all Osmund said was painfully true. He nodded. “So be it then. Just see that you don’t take three hits before I take that weirdo out of the game.”

“I’ll wear him down, trust me.” Osmund answered. They took each other from the shoulder and nodded in agreement.

---

“Teams ready?” Wilcred asked after all four had entered the marked area. After receiving nods from everyone he blew his horn to mark the fight started.

As Crabannan had suspected the younger soldiers charged aggressively from the moment the horn blew. The staves hit each other in quick succession as Aethelstan and Osmund pressed on and the crowd had hard time to follow the advancement of the match for all the action.

After all the pressing Aethelstan finally managed to make a clean hit on Dan’s side when he was still a bit confused after making a great defensive move from the earlier attack. “One hit against Dan!” Wiclred announced. “And one against Crabannan!”, he had to fill in immediately as Osmund managed to glide the point of his staff forcefully into Crabannan’s abdomen after a lengthy struggle of wielding a staff against another. Crabannan grinned in pain but seemed decided not to care of it.


Aethelstan was clearly having the upper hand in his fight with Dan. The former third in command of the Mead Hall had really decided to show his qualities and he pressed incessantly over Dan who had hard times to just stay afoot not to say parrying the hits that rained down on him one after another. It was mostly due to his great balance and stamina he still kept on with the fight.

What was anticipated actually happened pretty soon. With his superior strengtht Aethelstan finally managed to pull Dan’s staff down with a quick jerk so that Dan was forced to lose his balance and he fell down on his knees. Aethelstan landed a mighty blow on Dan’s back sending him down on all fours.

“Second hit against Dan!”, Wilcred shouted and the crowd cheered for the performance. But Dan was not beaten yet. Using the short moment Aethelstan seemed to be a bit too confident about his victory looking at the crowd around, Dan rolled around and hit Aethelstan to the back as hard as he could sending him off balance as well. “First hit against Aethelstan!” Wilcred cried for the enjoyment of the crowd. It was clearly not over yet.


Meanwhile Osmund had kept on pressing Crabannan as well. And Crabannan had to admit this young soldier really had stamina to go for it attack after attack. He had been waiting for the lad to make a mistake and had just defended himself but it seemed there were no mistakes coming from his side – and in the end the lad managed to get through his defences the second time. “Second hit against Crabannan!”, Wilcred shouted as Osmund’s staff landed down on Crabannan’s shoulder with force.

Okay, this is it. This will not do… Crabannan cursed himself while regaining balance and trying to shut off the pain. I need to start fighting.

The sudden change of pace by Crabannan was met with awe by the crowd… and by Osmund particularly as he found himself in trouble he had not been anticipating. The old man had just somehow burst full of energy and dedication. Was this the same man, Osmund wondered as he backed away trying to parry the hits raining on him. “First hit against Osmund!” Wilcred called as Crabannan hit him hard on the side just plain outmanouvering him. “Second hit against Osmund!” Wilcred cried as Crabannan’s blow to Osmund’s chest sent him crawling backwards just concentrating on keeping the balance. The tables had been turned.

As Osmund struggled with his balance Crabannan went for the killer and waved his staff backhanded from behind sweeping Osmund’s legs from the ground and sending him backwards to the grass. And before Osmund had time to come to grips with the situation he felt the point of Crabannan’s staff on his throat pressing it gently but firmly.

“Call!”, Crabannan shouted and looked at Wilcred. “Osmund is called off!” Wilcred confirmed. “Please Osmund get away from the flagged area!”


Just before these dramatic moments Aethelstan had regained his balance and his focus was once again in a fight that had not ended yet even if he had thought so. But at the same time he saw that Dan had only managed to stand upright. So before Dan had any more time to adjust himself to the situation standing up once again he felt a heavy blow in his abdomen that made him howl from pain and just bending down from pain he felt a second blow in his back sending him down again. “Third and fourth hit for Dan, Dan’s out!” Wilcred cried and the crowd cheered wildly looking forwards to the remaining match of the titans.

That was a wish that proved to be short-lived. It was only that Aethelstan had risen his gaze from Dan when he saw Crabannan coming towards him – and the staff was already swinging. Aethelstan had no time to defend as Crabannan took him totally unawares. The blow landed to his waist and sent him tumbling backwards. The second blow to his chest just sent him backwards with more speed. “Two hits against Aethelstan!”, Wilcred shouted as excited as the crowd.

Just as Aethelstan realised he had fell to the ground he already felt strong hands taking a grip from his shoulders and heaving him up. Crabannan dragged him to the edge of the flagged area and pushed him over turning towards Wilcred, his eyes asking whether it was enough.

For a moment Wilcred seemed confused. It was clear Crabannan had counted it better than he had even if Crabannan had been the one fighting while he had just been observing things. Wilcred felt the red emerging his cheeks.

“Aethelstan is out! Our newcomers Crabannan and Dan will go forwards to the next round!” Wilcred announced and the crowds went wild with cheers. This had been some fighting indeed!

“I’m calling for the next pair to preapare!” Wilcred tried to shout over the crowd.

Last edited by Nogrod; 12-08-2008 at 11:45 AM.
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Old 12-08-2008, 02:18 PM   #367
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Erbrand

Erbrand

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“That is what I wished in the first place, but if you will not seek me out in the games I will seek you out and force you to fight against me!”

Erbrand’s temper had cooled since his outburst against Thornden’s first scolding, and with the coming of Harreld his temper lessened. Nevertheless, he was agitated by the smith’s prying about his private quarrel with Harreld.

“As for you master blacksmith,” Erbrand said, “I did not know that this matter concerned you.”

“This matter concerns my friend, you best be getting ready now.”

The smith was stern in his speech, and it wounded Erbrand again being told what to do.
For two long years Erbrand had been pitied or rejected for his solitude. This was not what he wanted and his temper had become hotter and his attitude colder towards his prying neighbors of Aldburg, Harreld sounded just like them and it brought those unpleasant memories. His fists were clenched as if ready to strike and resist the familiar words of rebuke. Erbrand was tired of being shoved around, but he still had the wits to see that he could only make matters worse by staying, so with a slight nod he left both of them.
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Old 12-08-2008, 09:14 PM   #368
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Harreld

He had meant to say "we had best be getting ready now", but somehow the words had come out other than what he intended, and before Harreld's eyes Erbrand became visibly angrier. This would not do. He was angry with Erbrand, but he did not dislike the fellow. Nor did he like Erbrand's threats and bullying against Thornden. Nevertheless, the two of them were to be partners in the quarterstaff fights.

"I meant we had best be getting ready," Harreld corrected. "What is your skill? Mine is not great, being a smith and not a warrior by trade."

Erbrand still seemed ill-disposed to him. Harreld sighed.

"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?"
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Old 12-09-2008, 03:50 PM   #369
Groin Redbeard
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There was a silence after Harreld had tried to be friendly towards him. Erbrand was still quite riled over the smith's intrusion on Thornden's behalf and was content to let the smith's words pass unanswered. However, what Harreld said next did make sense, it would be wise for them to act as a team, if only for the purpose of reaching Thornden in the games. Yes, this would be the best plan, all of his strength and determination would be set on reaching Thornden in the fight. Although, now that his temper was subsiding the reason for fighting Thornden was less about avenging his wounded honor and more about making sure that Thornden knew that he would not give up Kara without a fight. Besides, it was not with Harreld that Erbrand's quarrel was with.

"I am proud to call you my friend, Harreld, but I would be a poor friend indeed if I let this quarrel come between us. It is not with you that I am mad, and I am sorry for anything I might have said to insult you." Harreld offered a faint smile and was about to say something, but Erbrand cut him off wishing to offer all his thoughts on the fight. It would not be easy to reach Thornden, especially after what he saw Crabannan do.

"As to your question, I am afraid that I have not had much use for the quarter staff in a fight. Though the concept of it shouldn't be that hard to grasp," he picked up his own staff and swung it around, trying to determine its balance. "But I'm sure that our superior strength will even the odds a bit. However, the agile fighters here might be something of a problem for us. I think it best if I took on the more nimbler of our opponents while you take on the stouter fighter. You outmatch any of us here in strength and I am not half bad at evading blows and am also a very strong. What do you say to this, Harreld?"

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Old 12-10-2008, 10:02 PM   #370
Folwren
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“Too bad!” Saeryn said with a sigh as she sat down by Rowenna. “We were about to have such a nice talk about matching people up!” She laughed merrily. “Rowenna, what do you think? Lord Eodwine has just expressed his thought that Thornden and Ginna would have made a good match. But Harreld got her first.” She laughed again, and then subdued it, and gnawed on the inside of her lip. “Poor Thornden!” she murmured quietly.

“I wonder,” she began, and then stopped. Her thoughts darted quickly about. She did not play match-maker very often - indeed she did not think of such things usually. But today seemed quite different than other days. With a pronounced toss of her head, she looked at Rowenna. Rowenna returned the look, but neither the girls said anything.

Would she do for Thornden, Saeryn wondered? No, surely. But why not? Why couldn’t she? No, no absolutely not. Their characters would not be compatible. They were both too solemn for one another!

“What is it?” Rowenna asked, for Saeryn was still looking at her.

“Nothing. . .I was just wondering. . .Are you leaving with my brother tomorrow?”
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Old 12-11-2008, 11:05 AM   #371
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Rowenna
"....are you leaving with my brother tomorrow?”

"I have not asked him yet if he is willing to take me with him, but that is my hope. I have been thinking that it would be good to return to the land and people I know. I have only been gone for a little more than two years. And yet-"

She sighed and looked away at the ground for a moment, to blink away sudden tears. Then she turned to Saeryn.

"And yet, Scarburg feels so like a place that could become home, were I to stay..." Her thought drifted to imagining what it could be like, being here for the rest of her life, here, accepted and having a place, a maiden to the end of her days. "But no, I must go back home, at least to give it trial. Maybe the Lady Degas is marrying will be willing to make of me a handmaiden while my father's land fetches me a reasonable dowry, kept safe by Degas' lordship. At least, that is what I hope for."
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Old 12-11-2008, 12:06 PM   #372
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Degas

"Friend," Degas asked, "might I borrow you for a time?"

"Aye," replied Náin. "Provided you do not intend to push me into the remaining competitions, I am at your service."

"Not at all," Degas assured him. "In fact, the competition around here seems to be at an all time high."

Degas, young and in love, found the tension around him amusing, and spent more time watching the ladies' reactions than the men's posturing.

Finding a seat out of earshot of the others, Degas explained to Nain his problem. At some point long before his birth, Degas's family - or the former lords of his estate - had been friendly with some Dwarves. The nature of the friendship was of a type that while it was common legend that the foundations of several buildings in the Folde were of Dwarven make, no man or woman of the Folde could still remember the names of the Dwarves, or where they had come from, or who was Lord of the Folde when this transaction had taken place.

"So I was wondering," Degas finished, "if you could tell me the likelihood of a group of riotous humans being able to destroy the masonry of Dwarves, if indeed the foundations of my hall were built by the hands of your people. I am trying to gauge, pointless though it may be, the quality of destruction I will find upon my arrival. If the foundations have been destroyed, I must build again, and could use the advice, if not the aid, of a friend with your skills. If the foundations still stand, are they likely to be strong enough to support a new building atop them? Of course, if the foundations of my hall were not Dwarven to begin with, the questions take on a new hue. So I must ask- do your people keep records of such interactions with humans? I am, as you can see, at a loss."
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Old 12-11-2008, 05:25 PM   #373
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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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Old 12-13-2008, 05:01 PM   #374
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QS-fight, round 2, match 1

“Any ideas my friend?” Balvir asked Lithor as they received their staves.

“Should we try that “change the target” -thing? Or try to keep the line… even if with just two of us it’s a bit hard to make a line.”, Lithor answered smiling at Balvir.

“Let’s try the change. They will not anticipate it, at least in the beginning… If we go through from this there’s no use trying it to lord Eodwine and Thornden anyway. And we should show some military prowess…” Balvir answered dryly but his eyes did smile.

“Let’s go for it mate, like the old times.” Lithor said and patted Balvir on the shoulder.

“Well, they’re no orcs…”, Balvir flashed a wide grin, “But let’s go… and I will take that Crabannan in the end, I’m about his age and you’re old enough to beat that youngster Druadán…”

“And too old to take Crabannan? … I guess you’re right about that. He’s good.” Lithor nodded and looked back on Balvir: “So I’ll fly on Crabannan first, right?”

Balvir shook his head. “I’ll charge Dan and then we change… I mean it’s just a suggestion.”

“And a good one” Lithor nodded. “Let’s go in like soldiers!”

-----

“Darn, soldiers again! But oldies this time…” Dan half protested and half jested to Crabannan.

“It seems they want to test us now doesn’t it? But let’s be careful out there. The young soldiers were skilful but hot-headed. These are of a different class for they have fought in real battles. Trust my word, they are very much harder to win.” Crabannan said in a low voice leaning towards the Druadán. “Keep it simple, keep it straightforward.”

Dan nodded. “Should I take the older one?”

“He might be the more cunning of them… If you could hold the younger one for a moment I might be able to wear Lithor down. A deal?”

“A deal” Dan answered and they shook hands before walking into the flagged area.

-----

“Are you ready for the next round?” Wilcred shouted and the crowd cheered in response. The air was full of anticipation as the veteran soldiers meeting the victorious newcomers promised a good fight.

“I’ll give you captain Balvir and venerable Lithor against the furious Dan and mighty Crabannan! Let the fight be fair but tough!” The crowd burst into applauds and whistling. The mood was high.

Wilcred blew the horn.


When the blow rang it looked like both Balvir and Lithor had been called "Attention!" in a boot camp. They both took a still stance laying their staves upright to the leg.

“Hop!” Balvir shouted and they simultaneously raised their staves up and lowered them then into a 45 degree angle pointing forwards. “Foorwaarrd… march!” Balvir called and they both started marching towards Dan and Crabannan.

“Now what the…?” Dan commented to his side but Crabannan stood still. There were still some five yards between them.

“Ooo-pen!” Balvir called and they both turned the points of the staves outwards forming like a letter V if looked from above. The crowd were cheering.

“Steady Dan, steady…” Crabannan whispered through his lips. “Keep it simple, keep it straight whatever they do…”

It was just two yards between the sides when Balvir finally yelled “Chaaarrge!”.

What happened after that happened just too quickly for most of the audience to grasp – and sadly for Dan and Crabannan as well.

Both soldiers brought their staves forwards and ran diagonally changing places. So Balvir was suddenly in front of Dan even if he had been originally facing Crabannan. Before Dan managed to move he was hit by the staff to the side and he howled in pain. Crabannan saw the move and readied himself to counter the blow by Lithor coming for him. But that blow never came.

Lithor ducked down to the left anticipating the defending blow by Crabannan and rushed towards Dan still inbalanced by the blow by Balvir. Balvir meanwhile took a sharp turn right and instead of continuing after Dan he hit Crabannan - who was still a bit unbalanced after hitting only thin air - from the side straight to his back. But it had been a bit too endearing move and Balvir lost his balance with the hit at the same time Crabannan fell on all fours.

“First hit against Dan… against Craban…!” Wilcred tried to follow the action.

But Lithor made a perfect hit on Dan’s breast as he was trying to adjust himself sending him flying backwards. And Lithor pressed on mercilessly landing a blow to Dan’s chest right as he hit the ground. Dan’s body cramped and shivered and suddenly went still. Lithor was shocked and rushed kneeling beside him in anguish. “Help!” he cried, only to receive a fist on his face from the angered Druadán, sending him backwards to the ground as well.

“Second and third hit against Dan! Dan is out! … And a little out of bounds hit – even if deserved one - against master Lithor as well!” Wilcred cried and people burst in applauds and releasing laughter after all had thought for a fleeting moment that something bad had actually happened.


Wilcred saw his moment of educational enlightenment right there. “So you see youngsters, this is why you were not accepted in this game. This is for the adults.”

Indeed there was no need for him to make the point. The youngsters who had been responsible for checking it out if anyone was going out of bounds were looking at the fights from a very close range – and they were really impressed. If that’s how they fight for fun, what is it for real? Cnebba found himself wondering and he was more than pleased he was not an adult yet… It was just so much more aggressive and powerful anything he and Garstan or Javan ever did. And still the adults seemed to part in friendship after even the fiercest fight. Now there was something he had to chew on.


But a real fight was going on just a few yards away from that scene. Crabannan fell on all fours but was up on his knees before the crowd could realise it. And he didn’t waste time on turning around but going with his instincts he made a powerful backhanded blow aiming behind his back just to where he thought Balvir was. And it was a direct hit to Balvir’s lower abdomen. Balvir yelled in pain and fell backwards while Crabannan rushed himself up.

“A hit against Balvir… a bad hit indeed!” Wilcred shouted and people were drawn to see what would follow as the newcomer bent over the household soldier.

Crabannan went on with the deciding blow but somehow Balvir managed to get back to the here and now and roll away from the down-coming staff. Crabannan only hit the ground just a few inches from Balvir’s side. And before he realised it, Balvir had turned enough to deal him another blow from the ground hitting him hard to his thigh from behind. Crabannan fell on his knees from the impact and they faced each other on their knees just a bit over yard apart.

“Second hit against Crabannan!” Wilcred called and was clearly late with his announcement but that could be forgiven. It was intense indeed as it happened right when Wilcred was being educative towards the youngsters.

The two looked at each other both on their knees. And suddenly they fought… in their knees! The staves hit each other in fury and neither had a chance to rise up. The crowd was just waiting for Lithor to rise up from where he was lying a few yards away from the fighting pair and to end it all but it seemed that the blow Dan had given him to his nose was bad enough not to make him useful for a moment. He was lying down but tried to arise. Somehow his head just felt too dizzy for it.

Meanwhile it soon became clear that even if Crabannan was a great fighter Balvir’s technical skills with the quarterstaff were just superb. Hit by hit Balvir wore Crabannan down, hit by hit he gained the momentum, but every time Crabannan fought back with instinct, luck, sense… what have you. It should have ended a dozen of times but Crabannan held back.

Finally Balvir hit Crabannan’s staff so hard to the left that he lost his balance and Balvir had time to rise up to finish the fight. But to his astonishment Crabannan was up about the same time and his deciding blow into which he had invested all his remaining power met with Crabannan’s staff in mid-air. For a second Balvir thought he had lost it when he stumbled down losing his balance and seeing Crabannan standing upright as he fell. But no hit came on him.

Instead there was a loud cheer of the crowd as Lithor had finally forced himself up and dealt a mighty blow on Crabannan’s back sending him face on to the ground. And Crabannan was totally stunned with the force of the blow. Lithor placed his left foot on Crabannan’s back and lowered the tip of his staff on his neck. “Call!” Lithor yelled.

“Call accepted!” Wilcred cried. “Lithor and Balvir will go to the finals! Cheers for the veterans!”

The crowd didn’t need to be told that. The cheers were ear-deafening. They had seen a spectacular fight indeed.
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Old 12-14-2008, 02:28 PM   #375
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"Maybe the Lady Degas is marrying will be willing to make of me a handmaiden while my father's land fetches me a reasonable dowry, kept safe by Degas' lordship. At least, that is what I hope for."

Saeryn nodded and turned away. She felt sad, although she knew that Rowenna spoke after careful thought.

“I wish,” she began, venturing to express her feelings and unsure if it would be quite proper. Rowenna was already struggling with the decision, and if it was right for her to leave, should Saeryn press her otherwise? “I wish you would stay,” she finished. “I’ve always liked you, until our quarrel today, and now that that is behind us and there is nothing more to fight about, it seems that there is nothing in the way between the two of us becoming close friends - best of friends, very soon, no doubt.”

Rowenna did not respond immediately. Saeryn looked at her, and pitied her. She was clearly torn with doubt, unsure of what to do, wishing to go and went wanting so much to stay.

“Rowenna!” Saeryn said, brightening suddenly and sitting up straight in her chair. Rowenna looked up. “Why should you not stay here? Degas will still be lord over your land, won’t he? You said that you could remain in his household as a handmaiden - well, why not stay here with lord Eodwine and I? I can not doubt that our houses are soon to be joined together. I know not how exactly, upon what terms- I’m sure that is why Degas and Eodwine went away and talked this afternoon - but we will be very close and the lords of Scarburg and the Folde will be friends. Why shouldn’t it be that you should stay here as my companion?”

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Old 12-16-2008, 11:17 AM   #376
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Rowenna

"Do you mean your lady in waiting?" Rowenna smirked. "For were I to stay, I would be your servant to order about, as much as we might like each other. Or would you raise me above my station and cause me to be the target of envy for all the other women?"

"No, Rowenna! You mistake me!"

Rowenna shook her head, smiling. "Saeryn, you spoke from your heart just now, and I like you the more for it. But I must weigh the choices set before me, seeing down the road how things might go. Still-" she paused and thought "-maybe there is a place for me here."

Her eye caught Scyld, who had unhidden himself as an expert in daggers. So much about that man was hidden, and therefore the more interesting. He held everyone at a distance, as had she until this day. And she would still do so in days to come, for one cannot undo two years in a day. But Scyld was too much like her, and he had a look in his eye sometimes as if there were someone he was thinking of that could not be replaced; someone lost, perhaps, unfindable, and irreplacable. She wondered if it were so. It meant that there was one more way in which this was not where she could be.

"And maybe not," she murmured.

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Old 12-16-2008, 07:00 PM   #377
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“Do you mean your lady in waiting? For were I to stay, I would be your servant to order about, as much as we might like each other. Or would you raise me above my station and cause me to be the target of envy for all the other women?”

“No, Rowenna, you mistake me!” Saeryn cried.

"Saeryn, you spoke from your heart just now, and I like you the more for it. But I must weigh the choices set before me, seeing down the road how things might go. Still. . .maybe there is a place for me here."

Saeryn smiled slightly and then, seeing Rowenna lost in reverie, sat back and turned her head away. Her eyes scanned the area. The quarterstaff matches were progressing. She saw Eodwine and Thornden standing near the struggle, leaning on their staves.

“I do believe they’re fighting soon,” she said, half aloud.

“And maybe not,” Rowenna seemed to respond, but when Saeryn looked around at her, she knew instantly that Rowenna had not spoken to her.

“Come, Rowenna!” she said, touching her arm. “Let us go down and watch the matches. Thornden and Eodwine are to fight!”

Rowenna smiled and stood up immediately. "Certainly! I would enjoy to watch this contest."

Last edited by Folwren; 12-18-2008 at 11:12 AM.
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Old 12-19-2008, 08:35 PM   #378
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The westering sun was a hand's breadth above the flat horizon. The quarterstaff fights were nearing their conclusion as the folk of Scarburg cheered the contestants on.

Those in the baker could hear the cheering and clash of wood against wood over the sound of hissing fat and boiling kettles.

They could not hear the quiet steps, nor see the walker coming out of the woods south of Scarburg, onto the road, and toward the encampment slowly making of itself a settlement.

The walker was hooded and wore a long cloak. Their color could not be told, for both had seen much wear, and seemed a smattering of gray and brown and green all mixed together. His feet were booted in old brown leather. A long gray beard wagged back and forth with each step, and the walker's staff stumped to the ground every other step. His face was hidden, so it could not be seen whether he smiled or frowned.

Then he stopped and looked up. His eyes were bright and sharp beneath bristling brows. He sniffed deer acooking on the breeze and his mouth turned in a small smile.

He started walking again, now bent a little more in the manner of an old man. He entered the encampment and made his way to the baker where he found a woman past her middle years sweating over her cooking.

"Good day, my good woman. Could you spare a scrap of meat for a hungry traveler?"
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Old 12-22-2008, 02:05 PM   #379
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Lithor

However much he hated the sting of battle it felt good to use the old skills he had learned long ago. It was quite a feeling of exhilaration that he felt as he sat down with Balvir after their match was over. It was like he had scraped the rust off of his favorite sword so that it shone and sparkled in the sunlight, he felt young again and was itching to get back into the fight, but for now he was more than content to watch the tradesmen and soldiers fight it out.

His nose still felt as if it was broken after that blow Dan had dealt him, and although he was sure that it wasn't, the slightest touch would send a sharp feeling of pain shooting through his head and down through his neck. Dan was always a quiet figure, never presuming to speak when not spoken to, very reserved in his opinion; and this made the feisty nature of the Drug in battle all the more startling. Still, Lithor felt no ill feelings toward Dan, it was all in the middle of a fight and the adrenaline was sure to get the best of any man.

Balvir was rubbing his aching abdomen. "I tell you," Lithor said, "my head is buzzing like a swarm of bees. That Crabannan isn't a half bad fighter either, wouldn't you say?" Balvir just stared at him and nodded his head and then went back to massaging his stomach. Lithor laughed and gave the soldier a good slap on the back.


Erbrand

"Right," Erbrand said with enthusiasm, "here our turn is next! Your help was very much appreciated in the last round Harreld, but I'm sure that you will be more than a match for lord Eodwine." Harreld gave him a worried glance, realizing that this meant that Erbrand would go ahead with his threat.

"Same plan as last time then, or do you have you come up with anything better?" Erbrand whispered as Wilcred called their names.
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Old 12-22-2008, 04:12 PM   #380
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The last few contests had not been good for Dan. He had not done as well as he had hoped.

First of all, there was wrestling. He might have stood a chance against some of the competitors but for his first round, he had to face a giant man, one who also happened to be the strongest in the camp. During his stay in the camp, he had had a few conversations with Harreld the smith and he struck Dan as a kind, gentle man. But from the first time he saw him, Dan had said to himself, I wouldn't like to get into a fight with this man. And now he was doing just that. To most he was tall, but to Daghan-turi-Dan, a mere Druadan, he was huge. As they entered the ring, it was obvious who would win. Being quicker and more agile, and dodged and swerved and managed to avoid being pushed out of the ring for a surprisingly long time. But then the inevitable came, and Harreld, with his far superior strength and weight pushed him past the centre. Dan managed to escape, but not for long, and he was dragged out of the ring. He had been no match for Harreld. No-one in this camp was a match for Harreld, he thought to himself. He was like a one-man-battering-ram. And it turned out that Dan was right, as Harreld beat Aethelstan, his next opponent, and went on to win the final.

Then, Dan had lost one of the two contests that he had hoped he would do well at. He was not as good at archery as he was spear-throwing, nevertheless he had high hopes. In the first round, he thought he had shot well, but for some strange reason, Lithor didn't check his arrows. Dan was too polite to say anything, and didn't want to complain on such a fine day as this, so he just continued as if nothing happened, though his mood wasn't as bright as before.
In the second event, he hit the target, but reprimanded himself for only hitting the outer ring. The only ones to get such a low score were the boys. No matter- there was still one event left to go.
On the third and final event, he managed to hit the target on the first round, but on the second he was eliminated along with a sulking Crabannan. He hoped he hadn't made too big of a fool of himself. He was probably just having an unlucky day.
He had suspected this would happen, but he was still surprised when Erbrand won all three. He was a fine marksman.

Then there was the sack-fight. The first round was probably the best event of the whole day. It was fun, and the crowd loved it. After a full ten minutes, Dan managed to secure a win by a whisker. They had fallen together and Stigend had hit the ground barely a moment before Dan. Harreld and garstan called for a rematch, and the crowd was cheering. To be, Dan wouldn't have minded to do it again, even if it meant losing his place as winner. However violent it probably looked to the crowd, all the hitting didn't hurt at all. But Lithor was adamant, and to be honest, he was happy with his win, and probably wouldn't be so lucky if he did it again.
For the next round, he had had to face Erbrand. He had seen his bold move in the last match and was ready for it. And Erbrand could see the determination in Dan's eyes. Whatever the result, they would part as friends, just as always. He wasn't using this to seek approval, unlike some here. He shot a quick sideways glance at some of the shadier members of the camp. In the end he gave Erbrand a blow that sent him falling. He looked towards Lithor for a second, expecting him to.... when suddenly Erbrand lashed out with his legs, sending Dan toppling off the pole. Erbrand then fell beside him. A smile broke Dan's lips- he should have expected something better. It then turned to a quiet chuckle, as he realised that Erbrand would battling against Kara next, and the thought amused him.

And then it was the next contest, the quartestaff-fight. As soon as he saw the size of the weapons, and felt their weight his heart sank. He have been strong for his size, but these were just too large and unwieldy. He preferred the speed of an axe or the elegance of a sword. And to make matters worse, he was teamed up with Crabannan. He hadn't liked the Northener since the first day, and had never really warmed up to the suspicious character. But then he realised that he had an advantage, Crabannan was tall and strong, and experienced in weapons of all shapes and sizes. After Crabannan finished off Osmund, Dan was soon out, though not without hitting Aethelstan once. Crabannan managed to finish off Aethelstan. He felt like hugging him, but that sort of sentiment among men was not generally accepted in this part of the world, except among close friends.
The next game wouldn't be so easy. They would have to face the veterans. He knew that they had something up their sleeves and it came as no surprise to him when they switched targets unexpectantly. But he was too slow to react, and he was hit. He tried to hit Balvir but he couldn't get enough leverage, and ended up swinging wildly, unbalancing himself. Then he was hit in the chest by Lithor, who had manoevered himself around and was now attacking him. They had switched targets. Dan flew back from the force of the hit. As he touched the ground he was hit again by Lithor. That just wasn't right, he thought as he lay there. It just wasn't right to hit people while they were down. Dan instinctively lashed out, hitting something soft, and only after a few seconds realised that he had hit the worried Lithor in the face. He tried to murmur an apology to Lithor but he was nowhere to be seen. When he had returned to full awareness he realised that Lithor was lying next to him, seemingly unable to stand. He wanted to help him up but didn't want to let Crabannan down. And as he thought of Crabannan he saw the man fighting a fierce fight with Balvir. And just as Balvir was about to be hit for the final time by Crabannan, Crabannan himself was hit from behind. He fell. Balvir and Lithor had won. The crowd cheered.

He helped Crabannan up and then, after the excessive cheering had finished, went to apologise to Lithor. "I am sorry, Lithor," he started "I didn't mean to hit you, but..." he trailed off, hoping that Lithor would understand.
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Old 12-24-2008, 06:26 PM   #381
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The old man having gotten more than a scrap of meat from the unusually quiet cook, he wandered off toward the source of all the commotion he had heard from the road.

It was a quarterstaff fight. The crowd was cheering and seemed to be mostly relaxed, which meant that it was apparently all in fun. Well enough.

He could not tell which of them was the lord of the settlement by his clothing, and so made his way to just he outside of the crowd, where there were four chairs placed, two young women sitting there, speaking quietly to each other. Just as he was about to clear his throat and speak, they jumped up and hurried toward the games.

The old man shrugged with a grin and a twinkle in his eye, and made his way to the outside of the crowd, to see what he could see. So far, none had taken notice of him. He watched and waited.
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Old 12-28-2008, 03:55 PM   #382
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QS-fight, round 2, match 2

“Please people, please!" Wilcred tried to cool the roaring crowd for he had some announcing to do. But all the people seemed to know already what he was going to announce and it seemed futile to fight against it. But he still tried. "Let me give you the second runners up! Let me give you Harreld and Erbrand against Thornden and lord Eodwine!”

The crowd burst into cheers - if they hadn't already - as the competants walked into the flagged area. Thornden and Eodwine exchanged still a few final words when Harreld and Erbrand were clearly already focusing on the fight.

“Go! … Ah, sorry…”, with that Wilcred blew the horn. It was the go. He was clearly not up to the task.

It looked like Erbrand was really yearning to go for Thornden but the two soldiers had clearly decided the other way. Erbrand ran for Thornden but Eodwine stepped between the two keeping himself between them even if Erbrand tried to counter his moves. Meanwhile Thornden made it from behind Eodwine to attack Harreld.

Harreld had looked at the peculiar dance and decided to make his move. Looking at the determination with which lord Eodwine covered Thornden from an attack by Erbrand he decided to make one himself. With a tremendous roar he went on after Thornden dealing a blow that would have stunned a wild boar but Thornden ducked the hit and turning around faster Harreld could imagine he managed to deal a blow to Harreld’s back sending him stumbling forwards.

“One hit against Harreld!”, Wilcred called and the people applauded.

Meanwhile Erbrand had settled with the facts and started seriously engaging Eodwine in a fight no longer searching for routes to get after Thornden. Erbrand proved to be a valiant staff-wielder as Eodwine only hardly managed to duck the shots aimed at him – and he dealt nicely with Eodwine’s counter moves. It looked like an even match between the two; lord Eodwine being clearly the technical master and tactician but the younger leatherman was quick and agile, able to parry and energetic enough to make lord Eodwine stay on alert all the time.

Suddenly the crowd went “Uuuuhhh!” And there was a reason for it. For while Harreld was going down he managed somehow to turn himself around while speeding his way down and to use the momentum of his body turning around to give a wild blow against Thornden. But Thornden was no newcomer in these fights and saw it early enough to just drop on his knees. The sweep of Harreld’s staff missed Thornden’s head and just blew his hair as he ducked down. That was close indeed. Harreld had clearly aimed at Thornden’s torso but his sudden evasive action had made it dangerous. But there was no harm done.

“No harm intended! Fair game!”, Wilcred called to underline the point. “But be careful out there!”

On his knees Thornden landed a blow to Harreld’s back leaving him face to the ground stunned for a moment. Panting Thornden stood up and pointed the tip of his staff on Harreld’s neck. “Call!”

“Harreld called out!” Wilcred confirmed. There were loud cheers of relievement.

Thornden turned to look at lord Eodwine fighting Erbrand. It looked like an even match. Slowly he crept towards the fighting duo. It somehow felt wrong to just hit Erbrand from behind. Thornden hesitated.

Suddenly Eodwine halted. Erbrand halted as well.

“You wish to continue Thornden? I’m quite old for going on too long this good a fight…” Eodwine addressed Thornden over Erbrand’s shoulder and smiled to his second in command. “With your leave, my lord…”, Erbrand needed no more encouragement but had manners enough to bow quickly to lord Eodwine before he went to Thornden. And the two were on each other.

If lord Eodwine’s and Thornden’s fight had been a good one, the one between Thornden and Erbrand really was one. The audience felt there were real energy and a battle of wills going on as well. Everyone was looking on and living with every blow given and parried. And they both really gave the audience the best they could.

Erbrand found new energy and performed some great improvised combo’s of attacks on Thornden but the experienced soldier parried the attacks if not with ease then with some confidence anyway. But Erbrand really pushed the limits and soon Thornden realised this was not something he could manage half-hearted. Erbrand was challenging him and he did it most fervently. Thornden had to fight this for real too.

The crowd went “Uuhhs!” and “oohhss!” all the time as the two dealt blows and parried one’s dealt by the other one. Lord Eodwine stood still, watching the fight with the crowd but just a few feet away.

Finally, after the most aggressive attacking maneuvers by Erbrand Thornden got the upper hand from a most unlikely situation. Being sent to his knees and only parrying from behind – just sweeping the staff blindly towards Erbrand – Thornden managed to unbalance Erbrand. And before anyone could realise he had turned himself around and made a full blow to Erbrand’s knees sending him falling. Before Erbrand had time to adjust himself to the new situation he felt a tip of a staff on his neck.

“Call!”

It was lord Eodwine who called the match, the tip of his staff on Erbrand’s throat now as Erbrand had turned around while lying on the grass.

“Lord Eodwine and master Thornden will go to the finals!” Wilcred announced. The crowd cheered even louder than before. As if they hadn't already shouted their throats sore for the games...

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Old 12-28-2008, 04:34 PM   #383
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Stigend saw the old man emerging from the kitchen-tent from the corner of his eye while waiting for the second semifinal of the quarterstaff-fight to begin. He poked Garstan to the shoulder.

"Now who's that?" he whispered pointing the old man to Garstan as he turned to look at him.

"I dunno... Never seem him before... or... hmm... No. No I don't know him." Garstan replied after giving it some thought.

"Should we go and ask?" Stigend suggested.

"Yeah, we should, but the match is starting and I want to see how Harreld fares. Maybe we ask after the fight, or maybe lord Eodwine will do it himself... or Thornden? It's not our business anyway." Garstan replied and turned towards the arena. "Go Harreld, go!" he yelled and many joined the call for Harreld.

But Stigend thought about it differently. Lord Eodwine had asked him to be in charge of the Mead Hall with Thornden as he was away soon and he felt he needed to try the boots of someone who was in charge - and both lord Eodwine and Thornden were ready to begin their fight right now. So he had to go and find that old man out.

"See you..." Stigend said and slipped away.

The old man was closing on Rowenna and Saeryn and Stigend's heart-rate was going up. He had no idea where it came from but suddenly he was very concerned about their safety. Suddenly Rowenna and Saryn stood up and hurried to see the match and the old man was left alone.

Stigend approached the man.

"Hello there sir! I'm Stigend, the carpenter... uhh... the the leading constructor of this place... Now who might you be, dear sir?"
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Old 12-28-2008, 06:03 PM   #384
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The fight with Erbrand was not easy. Thornden had sparred with fellow soldiers of greater skill than Erbrand, but he had not fought someone who had been insulted and was angry. Erbrand’s strokes were full of ill intention and he rained them as thick and fast as he could.

In truth, Thornden had only taken the fight from Eodwine half heartedly. He had not truly wished to fight Erbrand thus, but for the sake of the games, he had accepted Eodwine’s offer.

The last blows came. Thornden, with some luck involved, brought Erbrand down. He had a moment to try to scramble to his feet to try to gain the advantage, but suddenly Eodwine called the final stroke.

Thornden rose from his knees, panting. He looked down at Erbrand a moment and went forward to offer his hand.

“It was a good fight, Erbrand,” he said, and waited for Erbrand to take his hand, hoping the ill will had passed.
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Old 12-28-2008, 07:34 PM   #385
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A man approached him.

"Hello there sir! I'm Stigend, the carpenter... uhh... the the leading constructor of this place... Now who might you be, dear sir?"

"I am a simple wayfarer, passing through, seeking food and a roof over my head - or at least a tent if you have no more - and offering my wares in trade."

The old man held his staff in one hand and nothing in the other, showing no signs of whatever trade he meant, but this was done on purpose. He would see how this man and these folk would react.
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Old 12-28-2008, 08:02 PM   #386
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Stigend was raised well and he knew to honour elders whoever they might be but now he was just baffled with the gamling in front of him. Was he trying to make a fool of him or was he serious? What wares in trade he meant as he clearly had none?

"Excuse me sir, but I see little you have to offer as to banter like that. We have plenty to offer for wayfarers - and just quess how many we've got in here on these few weeks we've been here - but you do act like you were in for more than meets the eye. But why should I believe you? Aren't you just a stranger trying to gain from people trusting others?". Stigend eyed the elderly man with keen eyes but he seemed to stay as stern as he was and Stigend was already regretting his words; thus keen was the stare of the stranger in front of him.

"I mean what is your trade sir?"

There was a tremendous roar by the people when Thornden and lord Eodwine won the match.

"I do not wish to be rude but please sir, you can't count on me taking in whatever you wish without being a bit more explicit. And it seems our lord Eodwine is free for a moment so maybe we should just go to him?"

Stigend looked at the newcomer with a questioning look. "That suits you, right?"
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Old 12-29-2008, 06:54 AM   #387
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Modtryth finished her story the same time she finished chopping the rolls. She looked around in the kitchen and saw that one of the water barrells was almost empty. "I'll fetch some water from the well," she said. Frodides nodded and continued working on the foods.

When Modtryth stepped out of the kitchen tent, she could see Lèoðern playing with her bug outside.
"Hello there, Lèoðern. Are you sure you wouldn't like to go and see the quarterstaff fights?"

The girl gave her a quick glance, then shook her head quickly. Modtryth suspected the girl was a little afraid of all the noise and the aggression.

"You don't have to, of course. How is Master Bug?"

Lèoðern looked at her, slight criticism in her eyes. "It's a she. It is Princess Bug."

Modtryth could not help smiling. "Beg your pardon. I hope Her Highness will then excuse me for I am to fetch water now."
Lèoðern exchanged glkances with the bug. "You may go. She excuses you."

As Modtryth approached the well, she could hear shouting from the fighting grounds. She did not have to listen for long before she found out it was Lithor and Belvir and Dan and Crabannan that were fighting. She shrugged. Truth be told, she liked little any of the men - Balvir, she guessed, was a good man though, but rather too serious - and secretly hoped they would bruise some more sense into each other.

The water in the well was sufficiently cold, Modtryth discovered, when she splashed it on herself - such silly carelessness. It amused her mostly, though, and she hurried back to the kitchen. When she reached the kitchen tent, she saw an odd hooded man leaving with a plate full of food.

"Who was that?" she asked as she stepped in. She looked out again. "And where's Lèoðern? Surely not watching the fights?"
"The girl must have run off somewhere, she was there just a while ago. You know, children are like that..."
"Yes, and she would not run away anywhere too far, but I'd still be happier if I knew where she was. But who was that stranger?"
"The stranger?"
"The man you just gave food to."
"Oh I thought it was... wait, I don't know who it was." Frodides furrowed her brow.
Modtryth inclined her head. She wondered why was Frodides being so uncharacteristically inattentive. "Is something wrong?" she asked.
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Old 12-29-2008, 01:53 PM   #388
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The eorl shouldn't have called it! This was my fight! The match had been going the way he wanted it, eventually one of them would slip and make a mistake, like he just did, and though Thornden's superior skill showed in the way he fought it would have been better for him to rain a dozen blows down on him than to have the match end to pitifully.

Thornden seemed pleased that he had at least won the fight and offered his congratulations on a good fight; Thornden's hand was offered to him who still lay on the ground. Erbrand instinctively reached to accept the help, but hesitated when he saw Thornden looking down at him. It reminded him of what would be thought of him now that the fight was lost, perfection might be sought for in craftsmanship but fighting was something different, yet Erbrand still couldn't come to the fact that he had lost. Ignoring the help, Erbrand lifted himself to his feet.

"You bested me today Thornden," Erbrand whispered, "but that doesn't mean that this is over."

He searched the scar with his eyes trying to find Kara but there was no trace of her. The thought of joining Kara was driven from his mind by a sense of loss, he needed to be alone for the moment, away from Thornden, away from women, just somewhere that he could be by himself and brood over his wounded pride. He had recognized the look in Thornden's eyes when he made contact with Kara's that first time: it was want of something that was not his, and Erbrand hadn't stopped him. He walked aimlessly across the scar and back into camp. There would be a next fight someday, it might be awhile but it would come. Next time he would not lose.

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Old 12-29-2008, 02:27 PM   #389
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This man, Stigend, as he called himself, was being quite attentive compared to the cook. There would have to be some other means to come by what he wished for, the old man decided.

So he lifted his empty hand, only it was no longer empty; rather, in it was held a carpenter's mallet, new and sharply made.

"Here is an example of my wares," the old man said. "Will you take this in return for the hospitality of your folk?"

The old man grinned and let a twinkle come into his eye as he watched Stigend the carpenter's jaw drop and a frown of confusion come to his eyes; for of course the carpenter had seen nothing in his hand a moment before, so how had a carpenter's mallet suddenly appeared there as if from thin air?

"And did you say your lord is now free to speak with me?"
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Old 12-29-2008, 05:40 PM   #390
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He did not like this unreasonable behavior from Erbrand in the slightest. Thornden looked sharply after Erbrand when he heard the threat. His disapproval was rising again. Thornden almost followed him, wishing to end the quarrel then and there, but he was fighting the next round with Eodwine.

He stooped and picked up his staff. Unconsciously, his hand gripped it tightly. He leaned against it before looking over his shoulder to see where Erbrand was going off to sulk.

Sulk? No, that was an unkind word and Thornden reproved himself for it. He spotted Erbrand now, climbing up the scar and heading towards camp. Thornden promised himself that he would try to reason with him later. It would do no good to prolong the disagreement and allow the anger to brew.

He moved his mind to the next match. They were to fight Lithor and Balvir. He had watched their match with keen interest and he knew that they would not be easily bested.
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Old 12-29-2008, 05:49 PM   #391
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"I am sorry, Lithor, I didn't mean to hit you, but..." Dan started but the older soldier just smiled to him patting him to the shoulder in a friendly way. “Hah, no evil suffered mate… it was a good fight and I think that in the end I got just what I deserved.”

“Lithor! Where are you old weasel? We’ve fighting to do!” Balvir called him out loud over the crowd. Lithor chuckled and threw a grin at Dan: “You see, that’s how my best friends treat me…”

“I’m coming!” he yelled back and turned away from the druadan.

-----

Lord Eodwine and Thornden had stayed inside the flagged area. Wilcred had asked them if they would care for a pause to draw breath but they were ready to continue as soon as Balvir and Lithor could be produced to fight them.

“So, any ideas my lord?” Thornden asked Eodwine as they waited for their opponents.

“They are tough guys… I wouldn’t have hired them otherwise…” Eodwine shook his head but smiled as he did so. “So we just win them”.


“Balvir and Lithor reporting for duty!” Balvir called as they entered the flagged area.

“How if you’re just ordered to lose guys?” Garstan called from the crowd making people laugh.

“I should consider that Garstan!”, lord Eodwine answered. “But let’s have more fun with this. Now Balvir and Lithor what would you say if I ordered you to win this match?”

Balvir and Lithor exchanged looks not quite sure how to take the proposition or what to say. For their relief Wilcred came in ending their ordeal. “Allright people, the two best teams are left! Let the very best win! I give you lord Eodwine and Thornden against Balvir and Lithor!” And he blew the horn.

-----

"Will you take this in return for the hospitality of your folk?" the old man had said producing a mallet out from thin air. "And did you say your lord is now free to speak with me?" The old man was seemingly entertained by Stigend's bafflement.

Stigend looked back at the crowd and heard the noise.

"I'm afraid he's going to be busy for a short while still... And I'm in no position to take something as a reward for what this Hall may offer you but I'd sure like to have a look at that mallet." Stigend answered for something had drawn his attention to it. It didn't look like anything he had seen and he did know how mallets were made in Rohan. He sure knew it for a mallet but it was different, like there was no maker's markings or traces of all carving and handling anywhere.

"May I?"

The old man gave the mallet to Stigend and it was indeed a peculiar piece of work. Like it was real and was not. It was so smooth like no hand had ever touched it. You must be imagining things... too many hits on the head on a same day it must be...

"Where has this been made for the craftmanship is unknown to me?" Stigend studied the old man carefully. "I mean, I should know how mallets are made and what kind of general models there are... and how they look inspected from closer ... but this is, well different..."
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Old 12-30-2008, 05:40 PM   #392
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QS-fight, final

“I quess that was an order…” Balvir sighed turning to face their opponents. “Let’s charge then!”

The two soldiers seemed not be trying any preplanned manouvers this time but charged straight forwards. Lithor headed straight towards lord Eodwine swinging his staff from left to right. There was no clear rhythm in the way he swang the staff so it made it hard for lord Eodwine to anticipate the clash when it finally came. And it did indeed take him unawares as at the crucial moment Lithor kind of halted a movement he had begun and came on him head on. Eodwine lost the grip of his staff with the impact – and so did Lithor. The crowd went “Ooohhh!” with the sudden turn of events as lord Eodwine and the older soldier stumbled into each other their staves flying in the air.

But Thornden was immediately on the top of the situation. Making a fast leap sideways to avoid oncoming Balvir he yelled “Catch!” and ducked down to pick Eodwine’s staff coming down while simultaneously throwing his own to his lord.

Eodwine heard the call and reached towards it while still rolling in the ground – having Lithor rolling along with him. And he managed to catch the staff from mid air! “Uuuuhh!”, went the crowd. And then it went “Aaahh!” followed by spontaneous applauds as Eodwine had quite miraculously brought himself up while giving Lithor a further push with his staff. And as he went up he dealt another blow to the rolling soldier.

“First hit ag… no… second…, wait… yes, two hits against Lithor!” Wilcred yelled.

Meanwhile Thornden’s sudden move had confused Balvir enough so that he only realised Thornden had been able to pick lord Eodwine’s staff when a hard blow hit his kneecap and another to his side sent him flying towards the ground. Balvir managed to try and retaliate while he fell but Thornden evaded the sweep nicely. “First and second hit against Balvir as well!” Wilcred announced.

“Your men aren’t actually following your orders too closely today my lord!” Wilcred shouted winking his eye to the audience. There were some scattered laughs as only some people had initially hear lord Eodwine’s joke with ordering his men to win. Thornden turned to face Eodwine to make a comment on the issue when he heard the steady voice of Balvir from behind him.

“We’re not quite finished with this yet, if you may”. With that Balvir who had raised up to his knees quickly levered Lithor’s staff from the ground with his own and with one movement charged Thornden now with two staves. That sudden move forced Thornden to retreat. “First hit against Thornden!”, Wilcred cried as Thornden who had been defending from a blow to one side suffered a hit from the other side.

No one quite realised how Lithor had managed to join the fight. But suddenly he was there jumping from beside lord Eodwine and landing just behind Thornden. And the timing was perfect. Just as Thornden backed off the next two hasty steps from the raining blows against him Lithor rose on all fours behind him. And Thornden tumbled straight into his back rolling over him and hitting the ground. “Second hit against Thornden!” Wilcred announced as Balvir’s staff sped Thornden’s fall.

The crowd had seen some spectacular moves this day but now it was just gaping mouths open for the fight they were witnessing… only to discover it had halted. All the four stood in the center looking at each other and breathing heavily.

“Just obeying orders my lord…” Balvir panted leaning to his staff.

“What’s the call Wilcred?”, lord Eodwine asked aloud.

“Two hits against all, but you my lord have none yet.”

“You have to bring me one hit before we call this off!” lord Eodwine said and lowered his staff.

“Let me see you do it!” It was Thornden who had crept beside Eodwine and lowered his staff to lay on Eodwine’s. Glancing at Thornden Eodwine saw him nodding towards the two soldiers and slightly moving the tips of the staffs away from each other. Lord Eodwine smiled.

Balvir and Lithor came charging as told but now their opponents had some cunning in mind. Instead of both trying to defend themselves individually they suddenly rushed forwards side by side first keeping their staves closely together and then as they reached the soldiers suddenly making powerful thrusts outwards sending the oncoming hits away and doubling their speed went past the two – from between them!

But even if the two soldiers were surprised by the move in the first place it was a familiar one to them – and they knew what was to follow. So now it was only a question of speed. And some luck.

Lord Eodwine managed to turn a bit faster than Balvir who was on the same side as he, and Balvir had no chance: “Third hit against Balvir! Out!”

Thornden wasn’t so lucky. Lithor turned simultaneously and their staffs clashed. But Thornden wasn’t prepared for the counterhit and lost his concentration for a wink of an eye. And that was enough for the soldier. “Third hit against Thornden! Thornden’s out!”

Lord Eodwine and Lithor stood facing each other staves ready. Eodwine looked at Lithor and suddenly started to smile widely.

“What do you say if we call it a draw?”

Lithor nodded in relief. “A draw that is Wilcred.”, lord Eodwine secured the call to their master of ceremonies.

“It is a draw! And the house of Scarburg wins!” Wilcred yelled and all the crowd cheered from the bottom of their hearts.
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Old 12-31-2008, 08:42 AM   #393
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Eodwine

Flush with his draw - for he had offered it instead of holding out for victory - Eodwine grinned and thoght to himself that now was the time for his plan to unfold. He handed his quarterstaff to Thornden and moving toward Saeryn took thought for his purpose.

But Stigend came up, his face full of consternation.

"Lord! There is an old man here," he indicated behind him with a glance, "who asks for welcome, but he acts strange."

Eodwine looked at the man who smiled and nodded in silent greeting. "How so?"

"I questioned him for I did not trust him right off, and he offered me this mallet here-" Stigend produced it for Eodwine's inspection.

"It seems well made."

"Aye, that it is, if you can call it that, but I tell you I saw him empty handed and then next thing he's holding up this mallet, offering it in exchange for my welcome. Natural it is not! See, there's no maker's mark on it."

Eodwine's brow rose. "Does he have a name?"

"He hasn't given me any."

Eodwine had Stigend bring the man to him, who bowed smiling.

"Good greeting. I am Eodwine, Eorl of the Middle Emnet and lord of Scarburg. How are you called?"

"I am called many things in many lands, lord," smiled the man.

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Old 01-02-2009, 05:48 PM   #394
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Thornden, Lithor, and Balvir were left amongst all the people who were still cheering and laughing about the matches. They were all being congratulated and slapped on the back and the three of them could not help but join the infectious laughter. Thornen finally shouldered his way through everyone and went to put the two staffs down. He turned about again, wiping his hands on his pants. There was Stigend coming towards him with a stranger.

“Thornden!” Stigend called from several yards away. Thornden nodded.

“Stigend!” He smiled and came forward to meet them. “Who is this?”

“A guest. His name is Eodwemer.” Stigend paused slightly over the name. “Eodwine asked me to bring him to you that he might be welcome.”

Thornden paused one fraction of a moment, wondering why Eodwine had not done what he normally did and make the newcomer welcome himself, but then he looked at Eodwemer and bowed his head. “Welcome to Scarburg, sir.” Eodwemer bowed in reply. “Have you traveled far?”

“Some would call it far,” the old man answered.

“We will find you something to drink, and a place to sit. We are nearing the end of our games, and we can find you a place to watch the last sport.”
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Old 01-02-2009, 06:47 PM   #395
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A pair of proposals

Eodwemer

"The last sport? And what might that be?" Eodwemer asked Thornden.

"The sword fights. With wooden swords."

"What is the reason for sword fights? Are there foes nearby that you ready yourselves to war against?"

"No such thing! We celebrate how much has been done to build a new mead hall!"

"I see," said Eodwemer, nodding to both Thornden and Stigend. "I also see that there is much yet to do." They agreed somewhat reluctantly. "Maybe I can add a little of my craft to its building over the next few days, if you like." He eyed the two men, especially Stigend the carpenter, who was still fingering the mallet, to see what kind of response might be forthcoming. "But it seems something is up between your Eorl and that young lady over there. Mayhap we should the three of us go see what's up."

Thornden and Stigend looked to where Eodwemer gestured, and the three of them quickly covered the short distance to see what was going on.

Eodwine

Eodwine found Saeryn chattering happily with Rowenna, Ginna, and Harreld. He walked into their midst and looked upon Saeryn's face expectantly. She and the others stopped their happy laughter, and smiling, Saeryn looked up at him.

"Yes, my lord?"

He smiled, his eyes keen with his purpose.

"Lady Saeryn," he said loud enough for all nearby to hear, "I have something to ask you."

Her breath seemed to catch. "Yes, lord?"

Eodwine could feel the expectation rise among those listening. He did not kneel, for it was not the custom among the Eorlingas to do so. Instead, he drew a gold ring from his pocket, and held it by the tips of his fingers before Saeryn.

"Lady Saeryn, I ask you now if you will be the Lady of my house, in all ways. Will you be my wife, and will you wed me -" he paused "-this night?"

There was an intake of breath around the circle that had formed. Saeryn's eyes were wide, and Eodwine realized, of course, that though she had expected a proposal from Eodwine some time soon, and even perhaps this day, the final twist to his question was unexpected.

The air practically rang with the silent of bated breath as everyone waited for Saeryn to respond.
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Old 01-03-2009, 05:28 PM   #396
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Saeryn tried to catch her breath. For some reason she was having difficulty doing so. Her hand crept forward, towards the ring, her fingers slowly reaching out. Before her mind’s eye, so many things were coming and going. Perhaps this was something like dying, but it was all her hopes and dreams that she saw, not her past life, and the hopes and dreams were coming into reality, not being tumbled into oblivion.

She smiled, and gasped, a huge rush of air finally gaining entrance past her restricting throat. She burst into tears and instead of taking the ring, flung her arms about Eodwine’s neck and sobbed into his shoulder.

“Yes, yes, yes!” she cried, hardly knowing it. “Eodwine, I love you!” It was whispered for his ears alone, even though she was oblivious to everyone else.

For sheer joy Eodwine held her tight and spun her around in the air, careless of the formalities of court. And just as careless of said social ordinances, he set her on her feet, drew her face toward his, and kissed her on the lips.

"You know I love you!" he cried.

The crowd whooped and applauded. A moment longer she stood there, staring up at him in adoration, and then she stepped back and wiped her eyes and laughed like a nervous girl. “Of course, I won’t have a proper wedding dress,” she said. “Or anything at all, for that matter.”

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Old 01-04-2009, 07:20 PM   #397
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Eodwine

Saeryn laughed nervously. “Of course, I won’t have a proper wedding dress, or anything at all, for that matter.”

Eodwine had expected her to say yes to wedding him, but he was overjoyed that she had agreed to wed him this very day.

"You need no new wedding dress to give you beauty," he said. "And Degas and I have already spoken of dowry and bride price." He explained to her the agreement the two had made. "Of course it needs your yes before it becomes bond, but be at ease, my love."

She nodded happily, the epithet tacked on to the end of his words seeming to have a profound effect on her tear ducts.

He took her hand and slipped the ring onto her finger, then held her other hand and turned to the cheerful crowd as she gazed at the ring as one in her own private world of bliss.

"My friends, my house, my folk!" They cheered. "Saeryn and I shall mold our paths into one and walk life's road together." More cheers. "First we will have the sword fight, and then we will have a handfasting to be remembered!" More cheers. "I need a lord's best man! Thornden! Come over here! I have need of you!"

Thornden strode up, looking pleased to be his lord's chosen witness.

"And Lady Saeryn has need of a bride's first lady. Saeryn," he said, "whom do you choose?"
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Old 01-04-2009, 09:16 PM   #398
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It was all happening so swiftly, and so suddenly. Saeryn had not time to think, otherwise she may have answered differently. Now, after she had made her quick answer, she did not want to change it. She did not care if she were married with no huge ceremony! Eodwine did not care if she had no special dress, and that was enough for her!

“Searyn.” His voice sounded like a warm spring day when he spoke her name. “Whom do you choose?” She had to rouse herself out of deep thought and feeling. She looked up and glanced about the ring of people. Ginna, standing by Harreld, was smiling broadly. Modtryth was holding Leoðern so that she could see. Rowenna was half hiding behind people.

“Rowenna!” Saeryn said. She extended her left hand, and the gold flashed in the westering sunlight. “I choose Rowenna as my first lady!” She smiled at her and invited her to come closer.
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Old 01-06-2009, 05:58 AM   #399
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Rowenna

She watched as Eodwine proposed marriage to Saeryn. She had suspected that this was coming today. To see his delight in the asking, and hers in the answering, then to see their happiness, served as evidence that she had been right earlier in this day that she had never really had a chance to make him her own. Even as this twinged at her pride, she found that she was smiling and clapping along with the rest of them crowd.

Then Eodwine picked Thornden as his witness, and asked Saeryn who she would pick. Rowenna could feel her heart thud, suddenly fearing that Saeryn would pick her. She hid back in the crowd, hoping that she would not be seen.

"I choose Rowenna as my first lady!"

Her heart sank. The crowd turned to her and cheered. She kept a smile on her face and stepped forward with the help of those near her, prodding her with a hand on the shoulder or back. She looked to Saeryn, who was beaming, and she forced a smile.

She stood next to Saeryn and glanced at Thornden on the other side of Eodwine, and the crowd shouted their approval. She sighed and she smiled, and gave Saeryn a hug. So it must be. She would endure this, not quite sure now why she found it baleful, nor why her heart had been so against it just moments ago.
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Old 01-07-2009, 05:16 AM   #400
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At Saeryn's declaration Ginna turned to Rowenna, who stood some way behind her, and cheered along with the crowd. She was a bit surprised that Saeryn did not choose Kara, whom she had known since the days back in the old mead hall, to be her first lady, but from the chat she had enjoyed with the two women (and Harreld) before Eodwine's eventful intrusion, Ginna was able to observe how comfortable Saeryn and Rowenna were with each other. There was no doubt that Saeryn had chosen her first lady well. As Rowenna passed on her way to Saeryn, Ginna gave her an encouraging pat on the back.

Ginna could not help being drawn to Saeryn's face. Her glittering eyes and wide smile exuded such a radiance of joy that Rowenna beside her seemed almost sombre in comparison. Or was she, really? Did Rowenna not want to be chosen? Or did she envy the bride's happiness, longing to be one herself?

Because we're not getting any younger. Ginna knew that both she and Rowenna were a few years older than Saeryn, yet she had beaten them to wifehood. Perhaps Rowenna could not be blamed if her happiness for her friend was tainted with her own sadness. At least Ginna had Harreld, and at this thought she reached beside her for the smith's hand and squeezed it gently. Soon it will be my turn, she assured herself, and released Harreld's hand to clap her hands with increased vigour.

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