Chapter 29

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As the afternoon wore on, the heat contributed to one's debility as much as an opponent did. With only seven knights enduring past the third quarter hour, it was unlikely the tournament would last to the fourth sounding of the horns. Syrqyndyl and the lone dwarf, Dhankwor, were barely able to stay upon their mounts. They had been at each other the entire afternoon as they had five years ago, without either gaining an advantage. Pyrhyvel, a powerfully built black man of Rheg Nhor, had proven himself worthy of the surviving combatants and was equally exhausted. The two halflings and Mharkhel and Setryv were in better condition, but were still far from performing as they did at the beginning of the first quarter hour.

The last quarter of the first hour began with Syrqyndyl and Dhankwor continuing their personal battle. Pyrhyvel of Rheg Nhor had been tied up with Mharkhel but sensed an opportunity and joined their conflict. Syrqyndyl was unable to defend against both men and went down. The dwarves' shouts of joy quickly turned to groans, however. Dhankwor made an unnecessary strike at his elven nemesis as he was going down, making sure he would be unseated. But the move gave Pyrhyvel an opening and he took it. A moment later Dhankwor was laying on his back beside Syrqyndyl.

In the mean time, the halflings had attacked Setryv when Mharkhel decided to forsake his former best friend and ride after Pyrhyvel. The halflings mixed feints with strikes to keep Setryv off balance. Then, one of the halflings allowed Setryv to engage in battle with him. While Setryv was occupied with him, the other charged. The halfling's horse, a palomino Dhaz, compact, sturdy steeds of the mountains, crashed into the blonde knight's Ghwer and knocked him off balance. The halflings turned on Setryv in tandem and dealt him several strong blows which eventually put him out of his saddle.

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