We travel back to Kiergard. It is a welcome and uneventful trip. Vincent Dhark has decided to accompany us back to headquarters.|
When we report to Karl Bissel Gerard does the honors. Bissel is impressed that we have succeeded and (begrudgingly) promotes us to Master Specialists. We are also given a well deserved day to rest. I quarter myself at the barracks, do some basic maintenance on my armor. That done I don some of my Common clothes and meet everyone at a local tavern. We see Vincent talking with several members of the legion high brass and decide to leave them alone for the night. We are more concerned with our own consumption right now.
The next day, after sleeping off the nights’ festivities, we receive word from Bissel. Tomorrow, we are to participate in the Summer Solstice Festival as part of the Combat Demonstration. Our opponents will be each other, and seeing as we are an odd number, I have volunteered to fight twice. I will first take on Nickoli and immediately following that fight, will take on Sandra. I view this as a grand opportunity to show my martial prowess to the legion, while others have less noble intentions. Adrianna and Gerard are scheming to fix their fight as to turn a profit. I do not condone this action, but how can I stop them? They are both independent individuals and have their own free will to do as they please, and there is nothing unlawful about gambling on such events. It seems wrong to me to cheat for profit, but neither of them have any scruples about it. However, I must take a different look at the situation. If the worst these two do is swindle some money out of the drunken rabble watching the matches, I cannot really complain.
One thing to mention before about the fights is the way they are operating. The arena has been enchanted so that any wound inflicted within is purely imaginary. Even striking an opponents vital areas with a deadly weapon will have no effect once you exit the arena. That is why we are able to use live steel with no concern for each others safety. How fasinating magic can be sometimes.
The fights begin with the fixed battle between Adrianna and Gerard. Gerard is the obvious favorite to win over the slender girl and the betting books show it. In the end though, after a good show making it believable, Adrianna prevailed.
The next fight is myself versus Nickoli. From an outsiders perspective, this fight looks decidedly mismatched. On one side stands a warrior in full plate mail armor and wielding a finely honed longsword. On the other side of the arena is his opponent, fighting bare-handed and wearing only light clothing. However, these outsiders do not know the things I have seen Nickoli do with just his fists. I too was once skeptical of Nickolis abilities, but he has proven me wrong thus far.
I will not go into the details of battle, but after putting up a good stand up fight, Nickoli was bested. Steel has won over skin this time.
Next I fight Sandra. This fight proves that steel is not always enough. Slowed down by my heavy armor, I struggled to get Sandra within striking distance. I struck only two blows during the fight, while she ran circles around me and lobbed spells. Though she was badly injured by my strikes, it was I who eventually succumbed to my wounds. The victory was hers.
The next fight was to be the last and Sandra would face off against Adrianna for the title of Tournament Champion. A fierce battle ensued, with spells flying all around, and Adrianna bounding about and striking nearly at will. Sandra could defeat me because I was slow, but Adrianna was just too fast for her. After a good fight, Sandra was defeated, and Adrianna was crowned champion.
The crowd was pleased by the result of the days festivities but wanted to see more action. So to please the crowd, and prove once and for all who the superior fighter was, Gerard and I stepped into the ring. The fight was brutal and drawn out, but rather uninteresting as neither of us are agile fighters. We traded blows back and forth for some time, with neither one proving the Victor. This was until Gerard struck my shield from my arm, and allowed a gap in his defenses. Finding a sweet spot under his arm I drove my blade home to victory.
The arena had seen its fair share of blood for the day. In the end I had bested both Nickoli and Gerard in single combat. I will always respect them both as fighters, but it is good to know that should I ever have to face either of them, I will be ready.
Now if I could just find a way to move faster…