Chapter 24

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The rules of the joust were simple. Two opponents were positioned at each end of the enclosed field, armored and mounted, each with a shield and a lance, the lances being twelve feet in length and about three inches in diameter. Each jouster was on their right side of a short fence, and at a signal from the King, charged each other. The object was to strike your opponent's shield with such force that either he would be unhorsed or your lance would break. Progressing to the next round was accomplished by unhorsing your opponent or breaking more lances than your opponent in three tries. In the case of a tie after three jousts, the opponents would continue to joust until one gained the advantage. One could be disqualified for the lance striking anything other than the shield or for using a gauntlet which locked onto the lance.

Except for Vhalkhette, there were few surprises before the championship round. The female warrior never ceased to amaze those who watched her. Given no chance at all to survive the first round, she had somehow managed to unhorse her first opponent and defeat her next opponent three breaks to one before losing two breaks to one in the third round. Setryv had an easy time of it, only having one round decided on breaks before making the final. Mharkhel had unhorsed each of his five previous opponents, all but one on the first encounter.

With Vhalkhette not receiving any points, the overall championship of the trevhette came down to Setryv and Mharkhel. The money was on the dark knight, the stronger of the two. But a substantial number still placed their bets with Setryv.

It was late afternoon in Bhel'Ehzz when the two knights sat across from one another on opposite ends of the field, each seated upon a jet black Gwher warhorse. They readied themselves, Setryv alternating his gaze between his opponent and Ellycyn, Mharkhel staring straight ahead. Both lances bore the princess' colors. They were wrapped in alternating light blue and gold, with a white ribbon hanging from each tip. Setryv was making a declaration of sorts while Mharkhel wanted it known that regardless of their personal lives, he was still, and would always, be Ellycyn's champion.

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