Chapter 29

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The first quarter hour of the King's Contest was charged with excitement and ended with the sound of blaring horns from the trumpeters. This signaled an opportunity for the knights to have a short rest and regroup. More than two fifths of the combatants had already been ousted from the field, some grievously hurt even though they used blunted weapons. As had been anticipated, the heaviest losses came from the dwarf-elf and modern-traditionalist engagements. Only two knights of the Ancient Khaballean Company remained while each of the three other adversaries had three. One of the three elves left was Syrqyndyl who had so far proved himself as capable with a sword as with a bow. Dhankwor was one of the surviving dwarves. Of the other four teams, Bhel'Ehzz had lost one knight, the others two each. The surprise so far had come from the Warders of the Winds who had the lead in unhorsing opponents.

By the time the horns sounded for the second time, thirteen more men had been unhorsed and the Ancient Khaballean Company and Militia of the Northern Moor had been eliminated. After a long and bitter struggle, the remaining modernist knight had made a daring move and unseated the last traditionalist. But the glory was short-lived. In the midst of his exaltation, a halfling rode by and put the Sagghez'an to the ground. The halflings of Vhyt Dhaxz were tied with Bhel'Ehzz and Sevhert'ah with three combatants left. Only two knights each remained from Qyntes'ah, Fhon Dhawz and Rheg Nhor. And thanks to the tremendous efforts of the big knight with the distant disposition from the Warders of the Winds, they still led the others in the unhorsing category.

Some dramatic changes, however, took place during the third quarter hour. The Warders of the Winds surprisingly became the third team eliminated from the tournament. Though he was wreaking havoc on his opponents, the big knight from Sevhert'ah took a questionable fall after only being grazed by a halfling. As the field was narrowing quickly, he decided it was best to exit from the competition before more attention could be focused on him. Especially if it came from Mharkhel or Setryv, who he had been careful to stay away from. With his departure, his remaining cohorts were off their horses soon after. That allowed the Knights of the Flaming Sword to surpass the Warders of the Winds and take the lead in unseating the most opponents. In the overall competition, Fhon Dhawz, Qyntes'ah and Rheg Nhor were left with one knight apiece. Vhyt Dhaxz had two halflings remaining; Bhel'Ehzz had Mharkhel and Setryv.

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