Rough Rehearsal


Valkyr and Aton stood at the edge of the field, among a line of tents, keeping themselves mostly out of view of the center of the field. They looked over on one adjacent side, where Domire concealed himself. On the opposite side, they couldn’t see Tido or Misolfa, though they knew they were there. The wooden platform at the middle of the field sat there, looking rather conspicuous. A few guards mulled about the square field.

Domire looked at them, then at two different points on the far side of the field. He nodded to them, encouraging them to keep waiting. Then he turned his glance again to the platform at the center.

The platform top swung open on the sides as two lids hinged at the middle. Men began pouring out, climbing up from a dugout underneath. Aton tightened his grip on the hilts of his twin swords, made of wood for training. As soon as each trap door had disgorged five men, Domire gave a shout. “Advance!”

Valkyr and Aton jumped from their position and ran towards the center, accompanied by the two nearest guards. Valkyr pulled out two blunt-ended arrows and nocked one while stashing the other in her bow hand. She stopped running, having arrived at an ideal distance for her to stay safe from the enemies’ blows but still be able to target the enemies only rather than hit friendly flesh. Aton stepped a little to the side as he ran to give her more room to aim towards the attackers. He stepped aside again to dodge an oncoming arrow from the attackers.

Likewise, an archer from Domire’s side of the field stopped and nocked an arrow. As he pulled back, Aton heard Valkyr’s first arrow whiz by and saw it strike one of the attackers on his armored breastplate.

The attackers formed a ring around the platform. Five of them were archers themselves, though only two did not also carry an additional weapon besides a dagger. The three additionally armed archers put their bows away as Aton and the rest advanced on them.

The final man climbed out of the platform just as the clash began. Though armored, he carried only a dagger. He played the part of the Sageman who transported all the attackers here. He was Tido’s to capture, Aton’s secondarily, if Tido couldn’t get to him.

The field was filled with the crack of oak weapons on metal plate. Tido swung a fake blow of his axe at his first opponent, then continued to turn and gave the man a hard kick to push him back. It was expertly done, but the prince only carried fifteen Turns of age. This man was probably in his early thirties and outweighed him by a good margin. The man caught himself quickly and returned with a blow of his club to Tido’s stomach.

Misolfa caught up at that point, a smile on her face at the chance to help her brother out. She swung her hammer and caught the man on the shoulder of his club arm. It spun him off balance and she took the opportunity to step on his foot and push him again, sending him to the ground. She swung her hammer lightly on his helmeted head. He lay still, knowing he’d been put out of this fight.

The man acting as Sageman turned back to the platform, signifying the effort to bring more attackers. Aton pretended to slit the throat of his current opponent, who obligingly dropped to his knees and then all the way to the ground. Aton then looked around quickly. Domire was engaging three attackers on his own. Tido was facing two more and Misolfa was getting pushed back by two attackers with swords. Valkyr had downed three with her arrows. The guards who came to assist were caught in their own combat with the attackers. The Farellas were winning this fight, but if the Sageman disappeared to bring more muscle, they would lose.

The Sageman could be killed of course, but it was preferable to capture him. The grunts who fought were the muscle of the operation. Perhaps the one in command knew more than just their mission, but the Sageman surely had some answers. If they killed him, they risked losing a potential source of information.

“Go, Aton!” Domire yelled. “Help him out!”

Aton threw one sword at the lower back of one of Tido’s opponents, hitting him below his back plate. The man looked down to see the weapon clatter to the ground beside him. Realizing this would have been a cutting blow, he fell to the ground. The other opponent realized he was now outnumbered and yelled to one of Domire’s attackers. “Jobill, get over here! They’re going to get away with him!”

As he now tried to face two opponents, he did more dodging than striking. One of Misolfa’s opponents peeled off to help his ally. The other one had made the mistake of looking to confirm his compatriot was going, and then regretted it as he caught a hammer strike to the side of his head. Misolfa then launched herself after the man who had peeled off.

He was too late, anyway. Tido acted as if to slice off both arms of the one opponent he faced at the moment, then dashed for the Sageman as Aton turned to face the attackers approaching.

The Sageman was lifting one trap door when Tido caught him by the wrist and pushed the man’s arm behind his own back, forcing him to come along with him with some control of his wrist. The man cringed as he struggled and tried not to comply.

The defenders gave a shout as it looked like they took today’s battle, but then a blunt arrow point bounced off the Sageman’s neck. The Sageman grunted at the blow. Everyone else groaned. The fight was over, but not as a clear victory. The attack had been neutralized, but without gaining any information.


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