The Sureshot Rises

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Horns blew as the two men prepared for the final match. Although they were brothers, and princes, they each had a strong dislike for the other. Warren resented the fact that Rothan would become Duke of Harmon, being the eldest son, and they frequently argued over that very fact. In the arena, however, none of that mattered. Each had the opportunity to best the other, regardless of birthright. Age mattered not; only skill and prowess were useful. This match would determine the better of the two brothers, at least in the arena.

Another horn sounded and the two men erupted into a whirlwind of attacks. Warren attacked with more determination and anger than Rothan, so the older brother settled into a smooth defense. He met Warren’s sword over and over with his, while sometimes dodging to one side or the other and countering. Everyone in the arena was seemingly holding their breath as they watched the display. Finally, Warren jabbed at Rothan’s right shoulder after feigning left and slipped his sword past his brother’s, striking him. The onlookers exploded into a roar, and Warren celebrated the first hit by shouting and raising his arms. Rothan remained calm and returned to the center of the ring to reset.

The horn sounded and the flurry of steel continued. Again, Rothan was content to defend. Warren still attacked with fury, hoping to slip by his brother’s guard again. Rothan brilliantly fought off Warren, always keeping his distance and shifting his weight around to dodge the attacks. He was slowly moving further away from Warren and caused him to stretch even more to try to land a shot. Soon Warren was stretching too far, and Rothan slipped to one side as his brother lunged forward and slapped his brother on the back with his sword. The people cheered loudly again as the match was proving to be worth the wait.

The two men reset. Both could almost taste the victory. Warren again exploded into a furious assault and Rothan fought him off, waiting for an opening. Suddenly as the battle continued, Rothan slipped on some loose dirt and fell slightly backwards. Realizing that he could not regain his balance, he rolled backward to try and distance himself from Warren, but his brother was too quick and struck the older prince during his summersault. The man rolled to his feet and cursed his luck, but returned to the center of the ring, trying to maintain focus. Warren, on the other hand, was elated to be within one hit of besting his brother. He appealed to the crowd for applause, and they did not let him down.

When they began again, Rothan surprised his brother by immediately going on the offensive. He attacked with a combination of thrusts that had his brother reeling backward. Warren tried to defend with everything he had, but it was not his strength and Rothan landed a blow square on Warren’s chest. Warren kicked the dirt up, angry that he let his brother attack.

Now each man had two points, which meant that the next man to score would win. They stared at each other with anger in their eyes as they awaited the signal to begin. They both stood perfectly still in the center of the arena, with their swords ready at their sides, blocking out every sound of the thundering crowd. Suddenly, as if controlled by an unearthly force, they leapt at each other, colliding like lightning bolts. Each man was blisteringly fast. They attacked and defended with amazing skill.

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