Chapter 29

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The twosome then turned their attention to Mharkhel and Pyrhyvel. They decided it would be in their best interests to get the big knight from Bhel'Ehzz out of the tournament first. So they joined Pyrhyvel and ganged up on Mharkhel. Had he been fresh or his adversaries less talented, Mharkhel probably would have been able to withstand the onslaught. As it was, he made a longer stand than anyone thought possible. But in the end, Bhel'Ehzz, to everyone's surprise, became the sixth team eliminated out of the eight. Vhyqyrd, true to his self, remained stoic and only allowed himself a brief entry in his notebook. But it was plainly evident to anyone who could see beneath the elf's calm exterior that he considered this an embarrassment and took this as a personal affront.

There now remained only the knights from Vhyt Dhaxz and Rheg Nhor. The halflings had a momentary discussion before they moved forward to meet Pyrhyvel. The black man regarded them suspiciously for he knew the halflings to be cunning. Their first attempt was a repeat of the move that had been successful with Setryv. But that very nearly backfired as Pyrhyvel was ready for it and almost unseated one of the halflings.

After some perfunctory fighting designed to test each other's stamina, the halflings withdrew for another brief discussion. Their plan decided, one rode out and engaged Pyrhyvel while the other stayed back as before. After a moment, the other halfling charged. Pyrhyvel, assuming it was yet another try at a collision, readied himself in a defensive position. But he was not prepared for what followed. The screaming halfling, instead of running his horse into Pyrhyvel's, jumped from his Dhaz at the precise moment and grabbed the black man around the neck. The halfling jerked Pyrhyvel backwards and that, combined with the force of the impact, caused both of them to crash to the ground.

A thunderous cheer erupted from the halfling contingent as the remainder of the team from Vhyt Dhaxz rushed on to the field to congratulate each other and celebrate their victory in the King's Contest. After a few moments the excitement died down and all the participants lined up in a traditional formation to offer each other consolation or congratulations.

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