LOG: Dance of the Swordsman

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Dance of the Swordsmen

Cast of Characters:

Diar
Maeve
Linden
Adelina
Mirla
Daze
Relovic
Londar
(And some transients)

Cuendillar - Saturday, March 14, 1998, 3:19 PM

Scene: Harvester Gate: Foregate, Cairhien Like the rest of the foregate, the area in front of Harvester gate is a collection of ramshackle buildings. Many small shops and Inns inhabit the buildings nearest the wide boulevard leading to the gate. Farther back, there are several large graneries. Carts run almost constantly between these storage silos and the gates of the city. Summer is the best season in the foregate. The streets are dry, and the skies are usually clear and blue. An almost expectant air lies over the unusually quiet foregate. Many of the evenings entertainments will not start for a few hours, and most of the citizens use this time to rest in expectation of another full night. Off to the west can be seen another of the great gates leading into the city.

Diar -M- Reddish hair, tall and slender, too beautiful for his own good, carrying a sword and moving with a preciseness and grace that might be telling. In his left ear, a few earrings, and on the back of his hands, exotic Sea Folk rank tattoos. He is IC.
Maeve -F- A youngish-looking woman of slightly less than average height, her build lithe but generously curvaceous. Coppery highlights play over her curly mane of darkly auburn hair and her tilted eyes are a shifting, stormy grey. Maeve is currently IC.
Adelina -F- A short Cairhienin Lady of high rank.
Mirla -F- A woman...in pants??? Fierce, but pretty. Watch those knives.
Daze -M-
Linden -M- Slender Cairhienin with dark nearly shoulder length hair. Athletic build, air of confidence, aura of command.


Linden sees Adelina's unsteady tread and disengages himself from a small group of people, heading towards her with an unmistakeably wry expression.

Mirla leans back against the wall of the building, letting the Feast swirl around her, taking part when the swirl catches her up, but for the most part, staying apart.

With the light rain almost a blessing in this heat, Maeve takes little care to cover herself from it, or from anything else for that matter. The light cape is casually tossed back over her shoulders, revealing the pale-blue gown, its bodice rather a bit too unlaced -- had this been anyplace else and any other time, of course. She strays in at an idle saunter, by the side of Diar with whom she quietly converses, a playful smile curving her lips.

Adelina is obviously suffering from the effects of drinking too much the night before, eyes quinted against the lightm walk a little unsteady from the effects of a headache. She continues towards Linden, keeping the smile on her face despite the ill feelings she is suffering from.

Emerald-hued coat open, Diar moves rather easily through the Foregate crowd that mills about showing some experience in negotiating his way through the masses. With one hand he leads Maeve, and the other occasionally reaches for his waist -- to straighten his coat, perhaps. "Ought to have gone around to fetch ... ahh well," he says as he moves, eyes roving through the throng to slip into briefly opened pockets; a sense of excitement seems to flit through the air, more than understandable.

Mirla finds her way to more alcohol. Once she gets it, she finds yet another building to lean against, sipping on it, calling out merrily to the occasional passerby, but still apart from the crowd.

Daze steps out in the open from one of the buildings, while carrying a big mug of wine with him. He squints his eyes against the sun, while it shines on him and his shiny hair. Taking a few sips from his mug, he walks about ,enjoying the views of the festival.

Jostled slightly from a raucous gathering of men, Linden spares the offenders a frown before turning to cover the last few paces to Adelina's side, hitching his cloak to protect himself from the misting rainfall before hailing the suffering Lady, "You seem to have enjoyed the Feast perhaps a bit much, eh 'Del?" he says, smiling openly at her condition.

Maeve idly lets her grey gaze brush over the crowd, her left hand holding a fan of delicate, painted lace with which she attempts too cool herself, flicking it idly back and forth. She mutters to Diar, "Fetch... Diar? Another... I would... though... the... you..." She smiles, ever so sweetly, and shrughs lightly. "Now, lets see what we have here, except for the gathering of more or less drunk people we can find all over town." Not that she's likely to be perfectly sober, even if she shows no signs of anything else.

A soft chuckle passes through Adelina's lips. So far she's been ignoring the gentle rain for the most part, it makes her clothes cling after all. "It seems I should not have tired drinking from two skins at once, I think that did it, Linden." She looks over at Linden's bandages arm, "How is that doing? Not bad I hope?"

Daze raises his head to the soft falling rain, enjoying some of the coolness it brings in this oppressing heat.

He shrugs, liftling the arm slightly, "Oh, it aches a bit is all." Linden answers, "The Reader saw to it well, so I'm sure it'll be healed in no time." His gaze moves across the Gate, eyes alight with mirth at the goings-on.

Diar snorts even as he pushes through a quickly-closing gap to bring himself and Maeve briefly out of the crowd, close to a fairly solid (for Foregate) structure; some shade comes with it, and even the slightest of breezes tainted only mildly by the scent of sewage, human habitation, and other such things. He mutters to Maeve, "Always... to... an event such as this and... sleep.... that would... way,... And... by..."

Adelina smiles, "I hope it does heal quickly. I hear there are many more events planned. Like... I think someone mentioned of a sword competition today, but with this crowd of people I would not want to be the one in charge of making the arena to fight in. Getting all these people to move will be an event all by itself." She looks around and grabs some wine from a passerby who looks too drunk to even hold it. He doesn't seem to notice that it's even gone until he tries to drink air.

Mirla pokes around in other areas, winding through the crowd. Finally, she disappears.

Maeve's lips mold for a moment into a wry smirk, just to be replaced with a quite sunny smile. She mutters to Diar, "... course... after... at least... are... sorry..." She makes a gesture with her head to indicate one drunken gathering nearby, there's quite a few to choose from.

Linden nods, "Indeed," he agrees, "Although I wouldn't care to wager that many of these people oculd wield eevn a practice weapon without posing more danger to themselves from pure drunkeness than any degree of skill."

A sardonic smile and a grey-eyed glance at his companion, and Diar steps away to mount narrow steps and get a better look at the crowd, raising a slender hand to shade his eyes from the hot sun. "Don't see any pennants -- but of course, all's reversed," Diar calls down to Maeve. "Then again, no fighting circle either ... hrm." Stepping down, his expression is slightly annoyed as he tosses a glance up to the dappled blue-and-grey sky before he says spitefully, "Either you found us the wrong directions, or it's been cancelled, I suppose."

After taking a drink from the wine bottle she just appropriated, Adelina chuckles, "Well, I am sure they won't kill anyone. I'm sure a Reader is standing ready after what happened at the boar wrestling contest."

Linden snorts sourly at the mention of 'Boar wrestling'.

Glancing up at Diar from behind the blue-green-gold fan which partially obscures her face, Maeve chuckles dryly. "Me? I can't recall you hiring me as a guide. If so, I'd like my fee." She pauses for a moment, holding her hand out towards him, "Right?" With another chuckle she twirls around, roving eyes wandering over the crowd, searching for anything which might capture her interest.

Madzy walks in from the west.

William walks in from the west.

The crowd bustles about, a surging, living thing made up of equal parts of liquor, sweat, and license; men go about from one woman to another to recieve a kiss, eyes taking in all they can see of the flesh rather proudly (and certainly shamelessly) displayed. Among this roil, Diar frowns moreso than before as he sees nothing at all indicating promised events.

"Pointless, this. Leave it to Them to keep even the time of a public contest a secret. Shall we go back to the townhouse? Or wait awhile," the tall, red-haired nobleman asks his rather shorter companion, already beginning to seek a path in, through, and out of the teeming throng.

Linden turns away from his companion as she falls silent, perhaps a captive aof a swollen head. He takes advantage of this lull in conversation to gently massage his injured arm, grimacing slightly at his ministrations. An impatient air clouds a previously unconcerned expression while he stands among the milling crowd.

Adelina gives her head a strong shake to get her senses back, "Linden?" She asks as she notices he's turned away.

Even more unruly than usual from the light rain, whisps of auburn hair curl about Maeve's face, constantly falling into her eyes as she winds her way slowly through the crowds, nimbly sliding away from any unwelcome advances and flashing sly smiles in all directions. "Your call, m-- Diar. It was for your enjoyment after all." Lips curving into a wry expression, she looks over to her companion once again. "That eager to find out what else the feast has to offer? I thought you wanted to exercise a different skill today." Her tone is just a touch... lazy, betraying a certain kind of mischief and amusement.

Among the bandless crowd, in the middle of a long row of all kinds of people from the foregate by the shameless view one gets of the horribly lack of clothes and for the rather bad quality of the sheer material one carries Madzy's silken dress stands out as well as by it's way of hiding most of the parts other women do hide. Grapping her brothers hand she swirls out of it laughing madly.

Lyren comes up from the south, leaving the shades.

Linden hmms, shifting to face Adelina, "Ah, there you are...I had thought your festivities had gotten the better of you."

Adelina rubs at her temples lightly with the hand not holding a wine bottle, "I wouldn't doubt that they have..." She looks around, "So when is this contest happening?"

Madzy walks westwards, passing through the Harvester Gate and approaching the great gates of Cairhien proper.

Eldred walks westwards, passing through the Harvester Gate and approaching the great gates of Cairhien proper.

"I had, but sure enough I'm foiled, so better to find some cool shade and a fine drink," Diar says to Maeve as he pushes past a man and woman rather busy testing out wines by way of kissing to seek out a pocket of passage-- and find it closed again by the time he reaches out. "Bloody -- Here, the other way I suppose," he says as he turns around and pulls Maeve after him carefully, again passing by the couple, just barely placing a rather inebriated fellow between himself and a pretty, pouting pair of lips attached to a festive woman's face -- "Some other time," he murmurs half to himself.

Linden shrugs, gesturing vaguely in the direction of Maeve and Diar, "That appears to be the question of the day among many here, Del." he replies with a touch of asperity and a shake of the head, "If they don't get those contests underway soon I fear there will be no-one left sober enough to wield a blade."

Lyren heads north into Cheapside.

Finally someone who looks to be incharge stands ontop of a crate and yells out to the milling crowd, "Would everyone mind making room. The Sword Competition will be starting here soon." If anyone listens it will be a miracle.

Chase heads north into Cheapside.

Maeve frowns momentarily at being dragged off like that, leaning in towards Diar (and almost stumbles onto him as someone pushes her), presumably to tell him a thing or two. She mutters to Diar, "... running... Diar?... being very... company... all... on whatever... can..." She cuts off rather abruptly, glancing over her shoulder as the announcement is made, and then looks back at her companion with an 'I told you so' expression on her face.

Daze walks westwards, passing through the Harvester Gate and approaching the great gates of Cairhien proper.

Adelina looks up at the announcment, "Ah. So there is someone in charge of this one. At least it's not the same man that was involved in the boar wrestling, no?" She takes a deep drink. So far only a few people have started to move to clear space.

Wincing at the amused, cynical look Maeve gives him, Diar lets out a long breath to try and keep some calm, letting another brief pocket melt to another solid wall of bodies before fianlyl giving a curse and diving right into the mass ... and with a decidedly un-peaceful skill elbowing, poking, pulling, and pushing an opening for himself and Maeve towards the man on his crate. Some curses and yells, a few attempts to stop him cut off with brief yowls of pain and further curses -- but the mood carries any hostility past, and no one chases after to make something of it.

Linden snorts derisively at Adelina's riposte, "Indeed. Although should the man make himself visible I'll most assuredly have the opportunity to practice the blade today.'

Adelina chuckles, "If I see him I'll be sure to point you his way."

The anouncer yells out again as only a few people have moved, "Please move! Free wine for everyone that gets off my bloody arena!" Now people start moving.

Linden rolls his eyes, "The fool's going to touch off a riot offering free wine in a crowd like this. Light, the Guard may have to beat a path to his beaten carcass, though I couldn't say he wouldn't deserve it."

"Looks like the competition might be a little on the meagre side though, wouldn't you say?" Smiling in a rather annoyingly pleased way, Maeve tilts her head and glances over at Diar, once they've moved through the crowd and found a reasonable un-crowded spot without too many elbows sticking into their faces. Or her anyhow, being that she's closer to elbow height.

"Indeed," responds Diar dryly, elbowing one last man away before narrowly stopping in time to stay out of the rough circle that's forming to the dimensions that some had heard of. "Still, better than nothing. A few drunks, a few bell-helms, and it's done with. What I'll do with another sword ..." A shrug, and he lets loose of Maeve's arm to idly scratch at his chest before crossing his arms, looking to see which men are likely contestants by demeanor.

The crowd is gestured over to a table full of wine bottles and wineskins, which also happens to be a good deal away from the man offering them. His wife on the other hand is getting swamped with people now. From the look she's giving him he'll have a talking to later on for this. But a good amount of area has been cleared, about twenty feet. Twho assistents, young boys who are trying not to look at the half clothed women come down and draw a uneven circle about 10 feet in diameter.

Adelina smiles at Linden, "Looks like they might have to beat the crowd to get to the man's woman to me."

Raking back some damp curls from out of her eyes, Maeve idly crosses her arms over her chest as well, the fan hanging neatly from a silken cord about one slender finger. "Looks like they might be too drunk. Of course, drunk men tend to be stupid enough." Glancing up at Diar again she smiles playfully, a gleam of silvery mischief in her eyes. "Right, de-- Diar?" She frowns slightly, looking away a bit hastily.

Linden stands stiffly, posture giving away more than a little impatient with the delays in the ocmpetition, "Light, I could be drinking with that... At any rate, I could be doing /something!/" he says exasperatedly.

Now that the circle is drawn and the anouncer gets all the practice swords out and sets them near the circle. He stands up on the crate and yells again, "Alright. Anyone who wishes to take part in the Fight to the Best please step up and get in a orderly...uh...more orderly than this, line."

Adelina chuckles, "You go. I'll stay back here and watch."

Several members of the crowd second Linden's sentiment, burly men and slender men, all of them having a look of wanting things to get bloody going. And at last when some order is provided, a passing, fleeting calm descends upon some of the crowd as men step forward, or jostle their way forward through the pressing throng to get a place.

Diar glances again towards the sky, shaking his head briefly before settling a usual, meaningless slight smile upon his face as he glances to Maeve. "Keep your skirts in place, never know with a crowd like this. I'd ask to wish me the Wheel's fortune ... but," he says with a meaningful glance to the line of men, "I've a feeling it's quite unnecessary." And with that he steps forward to take a place in the line, undoing the last button of his coat as he does so.

Linden moves carefully towards the circle, taking a place in the line of assembled combatants and learning as much about each as he can from simple observation, "Standing in the rain for a sword isn't what I would've chosen to do," Linden sighs to a man nearby, "Reminds me more of a bloody campaign than a Festival." he mutters.

"Thats the beauty of it," Maeve replies, a sly smile molding her lips into a generous curve, "Wouldn't you say so, Diar?" Speaking to his back never amused her though, so with a slight frown she adds, in response to his second comment: "I might wish you ill luck instead, except I dont want to play nurse at you when there's so much else to enjoy around here." With that she retrieves her fan, starting the idle flicking again while resting one hand upon a well-rounded hip.

Relovic walks in from the west.

Adelina moves to where she can sit down, yet still watch.

The anouncer looks around at the somewhat line, "The rules are rather simple. Each of you get a sword." motion to the sword. "Then step into the circle and fight until one of the two either steps out of the circle, or gets hit with the other sword. The last one in the circle when no one else wants to fight gets this sword." Shows a nice sword. "With their name, date and the title "Best Swordsan of the Feast of Lights" engraved on it. Any questions?"

"So how many times can you enter the circle?" Linden calls out from his place in line.

The crowd spends time between raiding the skins and casks of cheap, free wine -- 'Pure Vinegar,' some have started to call it -- and watching the announcer atop his crate setting out the ground rules. Given the elegant simplicity of them, there's not many questions, though -- "Yes! What if I one do be killed by another? Even wooden blades can kill, fortune prick me!" That from a brawny, sun-darkened Illianer, eyeing the scarred Tairen standing stiffly next to him, who barely supresses a snarl.

Relovic enters into the area as part of a long line dance. Noticing that some sort of event is taking place he lets the line move on and grabs the girl in front of him to bring her along. Laughing merrily with each other the quiet down and approach the crowd.

The anoucer answers the first question, "You may enter the circle twice, and only twice." Then he looks over at the Illianer, "If you fear to die then by all means stay out of the competition, for lesser injuries there are two Readers," Cairhienin Healers, "Standing by to fix you up."

Even in this warmth, the steady but light rain has after so many hours managed to dampen Maeve's gown at least, the pale-blue fabric clinging a little too much even for her liking. A slight frown darkens her expression momentarily, and she casts a quick glance at her surroundings, a pleased smile finding its way back to her lips only moments later and she returns her attention to the spectacle at hand. The quick flicking of her fan seems to suggest more than a little impatience.

"Ha! No, no -- what do happen to the man who do be doing the killing?" is the immediate response from Illianer -- the Tairen quivers on the edge of turning to violence then and there, but supresses it even as the ruffian chortles away, along with a healthy dose of laughter from the crowd.

"Buffons," Diar murmurs under his breath, as he glances to left and right, leanign forward slightly to look further down the line -- and seeing nothing that interests him over much he decides to cut through the formality. "Give us," his voice, raised, says sardonically, "the swords, goodman; we'll know how to deal with the rest."

The announcer blinks and steps back a little then gives a nod, "Of course, of course, take the swords and start."

A press of some of the men, as they move to take blades from the racks -- some hardly pay attention to which they take, even though the thin slivers of web-like cracks can be seen in the wood of some of the swords; others, however, take more time, quickly passing over the plainly dangerous for sturdier. And a very few, Diar among them, actually spend an abnormal-seeming amount of time, testing balance and weight before finally settling upon one.

Raising her fan, Maeve partially covers up a yawn, feigned from the look of it and intended to be seen as well. "Now this is exciting indeed, I am just about to faint from the thrill of it all." A lightly, to put it mildly, drunken man loudly offers to catch her if she does, indeed reaches out to grab her just in case, though the lazily smiling redhead sidesteps him easily. Which results in the unlucky fellow stumbling forward and falling flat down on his face.

Linden stretches idly, heading over to the racks and grabbing a lathe, hefting it's weight and balance before giving a satisfied nod and resuming his place in line.

Adelina leans against the wall of a building, drinking on her wine and watching. She's rather bored as well, but at least the wine is good, and her headache seems to be going away. Of course she'll likely have another in the morning.

Daze walks in from the west.

Daze breaks from a group of people dancing , laughing, trying to hold on to his wineskin.

Relovic, with his arm still around a giggling woman, watches the beginning of the contest. Idly he considers joining. "Why don't you fight Rely?" Asks the woman at his shoulder. He turns to look at her with a smile and comments, "Ah, but if I could. I was injured yesterday and fear I would not be up to it." He raises a wineskin to his lips and takes a good gulp before handing it to the girl.

With blades selected, only a few stragglers left, the men begin glancing at one another, quick, studious looks, measuring one another up. But no one seems intent on being the first apparently, and even Diar seems to hold back, lightly toying with the sword he's chosen. Seconds more of this and then, "Oh, very well. If no one minds terribly, I'll be part of the first match." Diar speaks lightly, a light, mocking twist to tone and smile as he steps forward to a smattering of cheers. A sweeping gesture with the blade towards the other men, matched by the sweep of his eyes and he adds, "Anyone care to humor me? Or shall I dance with my shadow?"

Daze walks into the crowd, bumping into the softness of some pretty ladies that are around, but his eyes are now on the swordfight,"Hey! I could do that " He exclaims laughting

"Hey, why did ya not say it was dancing ya was offering?!" The loud exclamation comes from a more drunken than dressed women someplace in the crowd, who tries to elbow her way to a better view, failing rather miserably.

Maeve, on the other hand, merely smiles rather dryly, grey eyes idly brushing over those gathered closest to the circle drawn up for the fight, her expression betraying mild annoyance over the delay.

The crowd grows more and more restless, as things stretch on: even though the tall, slender, red-haired noble, by the looks of his coat, is more than ready to deal with any comers -- and the others, most of them, seem to have noted something ... dangerous about him, rather more than they had expected for an event in Foregate. And so they hesitate, shuffling feet and making muted boasts, careful not to catch his glance with their own. "Anyone at all? Oh, come on -- What of you, Illianer? You're free to take any gold you find on my person, should you kill me." So Diar says, sword pointing at the man .. who shakes his head and tries to bluster -- and just croaks out, "After the next man, Fortune prick me... after the next man..."

Daze laughs loudly,"Hahaha! You better step out..you holding up the fight!!"

"He'd have to be quick to beat me to that," Maeve is quick to interject, glancing over her shoulder to flash that fellow a feral smile, white teeth gleaming between red lips. "Quick, and a lot braver than he looks." A silvery gleam dances in her eyes as she folds the fan together with a neat twist of a wrist, tipping it to point at him as if it was a casually held dagger and not an innocent accessorie of silk and ivory.

Linden steps fprwad from his place near the back of the line, "Bloody flaming cowards!" he growls, striding past them roughly as he heads tiwards the circle and Diar.

"Ahh. Courage at last," Diar murmurs sweetly, as the crowd both cheers and laughs at Linden's words and movement forward. "Though, injured; should I handicap, good lord? An eye covered, a hand tied to my belt, or perhaps fight with the left hand? Up to you, naturally." With a flourishing salute of his blade, he bows slightly as he adds, "Diar, of House Moderal in Andor, by and by." Ahh .. indeed a noble, an Andoran one to boot. He's almost immediately met with a few boo's .. but the dazzling display of flighty witticism and bravura brings quite a few cheers -- the women, surely, seem appreciative of his pretty face.

Brushing aside the surrounding men, Linden enters the combat circle abruptly, shrugging off his cloak and tossing it towards a particularly pretty lass, "Your arrogance seems enough of a handicap, lordling," he replies lightly, "But then I've come to expect no less from an Andoran. Linden Asher." he adds with a shallow bow, equal to equal, before taking his place across from Diar, eyes on the starter.

Daze chuckles,"A challenger!! finally!!" He takes a swallow from his wineskin, before turning his eyes on the upcoming fight again.

Arching a slender brow, Maeve looks over at Linden in an appraising manner, those grey eyes studying him as if he was a piece of horseflesh to be judged. Then again, that seems to be her usual way of observing any man which attracts the least of attention from her. She seems rather unconcerned with Diar's bantering, having after all heard it once or twice before.

"A pretty Andoran at that!" More shouts from the loud, laughing crowd, which has yet to settle down. "Maybe we've got a wench trying to pass for a man, to get a chance to play with swords?"

Cheers for the local lord, far overpowering those that Diar got -- but he doesn't really care, as he inclines his head briefly and then settles into a rather lazy-seeming stance, sword held in one hand and held vertical, to a his right, with his left foot slightly forward and knee bent; he casually seems to have chosen a spot where he's left with some distance behind him as far as the edge of the circle goes, which the other contestants have vacated. The balls of his feet swivel on the ground, grinding dust against stone. "Whenever," he says at last to the starter, even as he smiles vaguely at the words shouted at him.

Daze plays a boring yawn,"Well..getting sleepy from it, get on with it!! if you stands like that all the time, I can beat you both at the same time!"

Linden's eyes narrow as he sees Diar's competent stance, "Well, at least he knows how to stand." he cracks, nodding to the starter as well as he assumes a relaxed stance, right foot forward and blade extended point-up before him in a two handed grip.

The starter raises his hand, looks to both combatants, and drops his arm, stepping quickly out of the circle.

"It sure is hot and crowded here," Maeve half-mumbles, mostly to herself, and with nimble fingers further unlaces the bodice of her gown -- the danger of something accidentally spilling out becoming rather real. From the sly ghost of a smile playing over her lips, she's very well aware of this, just too bored to play nice at the moment.

Daze takes another swallow from his wineskin, suddenly noticing the motions of a beautiful lady. He grins and flashes a wink to her, from that moment, his eyes have two targets to watch, Maeve and the two fighters in the circle. For now, as the fight is boring, he watches Maeve more.

And with that, the dance begins, not yet the crossing of lathes -- not quite. But eyes holding, feet gliding in the empty circle as the men circle, Diar keeping his vague, meaningless smile on his face as his grey eyes reveal nothing, nor any motion he makes, when suddenly he lets his sword move as if under its own will, blade and arm and body all alone, not a single instant of telegraphing -- and it is little more than a feint, a light touch seeking to touch blade to blade, a testing. The crowd cheers, and the betting begins in earnest.

For all that Maeve might seem only mildly interested in the contest at hand, those grey eyes betray her to a watchful observer; keen and bright they follow every move made within the circle. Yet, no sign of such alertness is hinted at in her lazy, languid pose, and surely not in the laidback and almost... feline manner that she stretches, slowly letting her weight roll over from one leg to the other.

Relovic seems to have been involved with the beautiful girl on his arm than with the challenges Diar had made. Now that it seems the match is finally under way his attention drifts towards the two fighters. Not being happy with not having his full attention anymore, the girl lets herself be pulled off into another dance.

Shifting lightly, Linden accepts Diar's sally with a darting blade, lathes seeming to caress in the bare instant the Cairhienin allows them to touch before disengaging, sliding to his left with a careful eye on his opponent.

Daze tears his eyes from Maeve suggestive figure at the sound of wooden lathes clapping together. He starst to watch the match with interested eyes, although he flicks Meave into his vision once in a while.

Coming to a realization that his friend has left with a start, Relovic looks around to see where the girl disappeard to. He catches a glimpse of her rounding a corner at the end of a line. Grumbling slightly he lets his gaze wander around those gathered to watch the fights. His eyes eventually find their way to Maeve. A smile appears on his face and a glint shines in his eye before he lets his attention once more be drawn to the two circling swordsman.

A brief laugh, from Diar, and less vague, more definite smile grows on his face as he withdraws, circling once more, feet seeming to glide over the ground without falter or lack of sureness. The sword's long hilt is at last taken two handed, though held in unorthodox manner, high and slanting back away from the point, almost hidden in part by body and arms ... and then again, another testing stroke -- pair of strokes, as his feet starts to slide him forward: one high, it sweeps back to cut low at the right hip of his opponent -- never once does his expression change, and never once does it seem he makes any effort; if he is made to do a thing, it is, likely, this.

Completely unconcerned that her behaviour might be.... mildly distracting, or perhaps perfectly aware of that the skill of those currently fighting likely would indicate a certain measure of concentration, Maeve continues to... bask in the admiring glances of much of the male half of the drunken crowd. A little shift here, a little twist there to better show off a hip, or just a casual lean forward for a better view -- which of course offers those around her a... better view as well.

Linden's expressions tightens in concentration as his blade whirls to meet Diar's attack, spiraling first to meet Diar's high slash and then down to deflect...barely...Diar's low strike. A shuffling back step masks the upwards flicker he uses to try and tap the Andoran, a weak blow with little speed.

A dip of his head down and to a side, body following through the motion ever-so-slightly so that the tip of the lathes misses by only a few hair's width -- though marked as a missed by keen eyed, official observers -- and Diar uses a swift, strong roll of his wrists to lift the sword towards the inside of the Cairhienin's right thigh. Little more than a light motion that would do no harm, and perhaps cause no touch at all -- but already his leading hand is lifting the hilt up, tip made to point downward as defense is automatically applied to ward him.

The crowds betting has stilled, hardly having even begun, but cheers certainly are beginning to roll throguh as men and boys and women hang from lamp posts, balconies, and other such things to get a clear view of the contestants.

Those standing close, very close that is, to Maeve might notice a lack of dampness on her hair and what skin is exposed, which by now isn't so little, but the light rain is still falling. However, most everyone standing near her is unlikely to notice such details, when after all there's so much else to look at. A faint smile plays over her lips, and she seems to keep an idle eye on the sparring still, flicking the fan back and forth to cool herself.

Spinning viciously downwards Linden tries to spin aside from Diar's thrust while bringing his lathe strongly across his body and onto the Andoran's head...

He was too late.

The point of Diar's weapon clearly presses against Linden's leg, ending the combat. At the feel of Diar's lathe Linden pulls back his downward slash with a sharp inhalation of breath, the sudden shifting breaking the wound in his arm open as red begins to stain the white bandages around his arm.

Tossing his lathe down in disgust, Linden stands, bowing respectfully to the Andoran, "Well struck, Andoran." he concedes, heading off into the crowd shaking his head wonderingly.

Daze seems to be more enjoying himself now, by looking at Maeve, especially her exposed skin, then at the match. He grins and slides next to the place besides Maeve,"Goodday Lady, would you like some chilled wine to cool down?"

Daze glances a few times down into Maeve's cleavage, being hardly not to notice it by her stance, while he offers his wineskin to her.

"A hit!," announces the -- err, the Announcer, and it is met with a mix of cheers, boos, and curses. Many go find what remains of the pure Vinegar to console themselves, while the rest already badger for the next person to go up and try the Andoran, who smiles only a little more as he salutes the Cairhienin. "Andoran arrogance, it seems, is a bit more honest than the Cairhienin variety, eh Lord Linden? A good day to you --" And then with a flourish he turns, all theatrics, to look for the previous contestants -- the numbers, somehow, has dwindled; it appears some (including the boastful Illianer) have made their way out of the line to safer places.

In a day or two, surely, their faces and their words will be forgotten; in a week, even Diar will be, for such is the nature of the Feast of Lights. But as it stands, a contender _does_ come up, a man whose topknot heralds him a Shienaran warrior -- "Peace favor your sword, Shienaran," Diar says to him, already settling into cat-like stance. "Have you heard of Osa Musada? He taught me. After you." And with the widening in the Shienaran's eye, the sudden bursting fo a heavier coating of sweat upon his skin, it seems the name indeed is known -- but he is brave, indeed, and closes with the Andoran....

"Cool down?" Maeve arches a slender brow, glancing momentarily at the man approaching her. "Now whats the fun in that, my good man?" Whatever else she had planned to reply, in that slyly amused, languid tone of voice, is forgotten as the fight abruptly ends. A rather pleased smile curve her lips, grey eyes finding Diar, then straying after the suddenly leaving Linden.

Daze chuckles only and takes a sip some more, muttering since the she leaves quickly after,"To..get back hot again ofcourse" ,chuckling his eyes goes toward the ending fight, the lady seeming not interesting anymore.

. . . To be swiftly dispatched, two touches of blades before Moderal's sword-point scratches across the Shienaran's ribs, drawing a momentary gasp from him. The betting hadn't even begun by the time this contest has ended, but Moderal is notably less arrogant with the Shienaran than he was with the Cairhienin. "Done well enough, warrior. A tale to tell of, of having crossed blades with a pupil of Master Osa, and lived. Pride in duty." And then with that, another flashing smile, and he calls up the next, the announcer at a bit of a loss for words at the speed with which the second duel went -- already two more men have snuck away, but those who remain seem decidedly intent -- that, or good-natured.

One, two -- done quickly enough. The third after the Shienaran, by the too-small coat over his shoulders and the scars he bears, is surely an Altaran noble. Some witticisms, a mutual offer of wine after this game, and the blades cross .. and it, for a wonder, lasts a little time, as the Altaran abandons defense for dangerously wild offense, holding Diar at bay. For a little while.

Londar walks in from the west.

Londar walks down the road in silence, he keeps a carefull eye on his surroundings as he walks.

Each man who dares approach the circle drawn up for the fight, Maeve studies closely, appraisingly, in that sly manner of hers. Red lips purse thoughtfully, and grey eyes rove unashamedly, judging men as if they were steeds on sale at a market. Occasionally her attention drifts back to Diar, though knowing well he's too preoccupied to notice, she choses others to waste her admiring looks and smiles on.

With the Feast in full motion, the streets are relatively packed with a throng of people, and many seem to be congregating around one spot, a circle left open in which two men duel -- one Diar, tall, red-haired, a noble by his coat, fending off the wild swings of a wooden blade by an Altaran nobleman by the look of the other. The crowd cheers, the betting even begins -- and then in a motion nearly impossible to describe, Diar slips, pivots, twists -- and the Altaran is sprawled on his back, the point of Diar's practice sword resting on his chest. "Ahh! Good man, brave enough indeed. Afterwards, Lord Beric, we'll have a drink." And with that he offers a hand to help the man up, who seems a little dazed but otherwise laughs with the Andoran.

Londar seems rather lost in this enviroment, he tries to avoid the people he meets and look as small as possible. For whom would take notice of a man like him. He glances at the 'duel' and a few well choosen words slips his lips. "A master of the sword, he is..Trully a master..One day..perhaps a true champion."

Another contestant comes up -- no bets are made now, the Foregaters and the nobles who watch the display of entirely single-sided prowess expect now to get no chance, and surely no takers for they indeed know who to bet on -- and he falls, not even managing to touch blades as Diar's darting motion sets the space between his eyes meeting the end of the lord's blade. Not really hurt, he stumbles off, confused by how quickly his opponent moved ... And another appears, and gone only in a little more time, and then yet another. The crowd hardly cheers any longer, a bit dissapointed by the lack of bloodshed, of hard, brutal fights ... but they watch, at least, trying to see just what blademastery entails.

And then the last two, one a veteran-seeming Cairhienin trooper who falls after almost, but not quite, managing to drive Diar from the circle. The other, a fresh-faced young man, from nowhere special, who for some reason hung through all of it, knowing he had no chance -- but showing, indeed, a spark -- a talent most all showed. And Diar notes it, and ends it with a tap of his blade before bowing faintly and coming nearer to the lad. The young man flinches, but Diar does nothing, only speaks to him very quietly ... and then turns to the announcer, "Well, that's that. Let it be heralded that Diar Moderal of a noble house of Andor won -- but the sword, give it to this lad. Damned sight more courage than just about everyone else here."

And the crowd -- well, it reacts more than favorably, after a passing stunned silence; a roar of cheers erupts, as the announcer tries to come up with words, and the boy smiles in a daze. Diar makes some joke, as he tries to make his way from the ring, first taking his former companion by the arm as he struggles throguh all the back-poundings, applause, attempts at handshakes, and so on.

Londar sighs deeply. "Now thats a swords master...Time will tell if he will use it well or not."

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