Edwuard Stirwuard was rapt with attention. Brice, the reigning tournament champion, was about to defeat his final opponent. Edwuard had been watching the sword matches all day. In the first match, earlier in the day, it had taken only minutes for Rob to best James.
Squire Jane had then accepted James’ resignation from the men-at-arms, and as she had promised Daralis, gave permission for James to marry her.
Rob had then fought Brice, valiantly. Rob was a favorite with the ladies of Ayre, who gathered to watch him, hoping for him to win.
But it wasn’t very long before Brice defeated Rob, too.
Meanwhile, in the other arena, Oakes had defeated Alistair and a few other contenders. Finally, it was time for the final match for tournament champion. Brice versus Oakes. The Squire gave the signal for the contest to begin.
Brice and Oakes circled each other. They trained together all the time, and knew each others’ moves well.
Oakes blocked Brice’s thrust, with a strength that the other contenders had not been able to muster.
But Brice was able to get Oakes on the defensive anyway. With the hilt, he crushed Oakes’ nose.
As Oakes regained his focus, Brice stood triumphant.
But Oakes did not back down. Again and again, he blocked and parried, and for the first time that day, Brice began to wear down.
A crowd had gathered to see who would win this epic contest. Oakes looked stronger, the longer the battle continued.
No one in Ayre had seen Brice knocked to the ground before, but suddenly, Oakes stood over him, with his sword sheathed but ready to draw it again.
Brice was bitter in defeat. For a moment, it looked like he would not surrender, and would fight Oakes. But then, to everyone’s surprise, he gave the men-at-arms’ salute to his fellow soldier, and admitted that Oakes had bested him.
Oakes knelt before the Squire, who declared him champion.
After the tournament, Edwuard practiced fencing every moment that he was left in peace.
At meals, whenever he was allowed to speak, he recounted the amazing valor of Oakes.
While the Squire encouraged his enthusiasm for the sword, her mother was more concerned about his relative lack of progress in philosophy, logic, and letters.
While she was recovering from burns sustained fighting the fire in the spring, Edwuard’s study had been sorely lacking. Lady Joslyn, Elizabeth’s sister, had spent hours with Edwuard every day, but she had read fairy tales to him, rather than giving him proper lessons.
When Lady Elizabeth realized how much ground had been lost in their ward’s academic progress, she severely rebuked her daughter for allowing it.
And she immediately began to remedy the situation. Sometimes, she required Edwuard to stay at his work until the candles burned low.
The Squire required, though, that her mother release the boy long enough for a lesson in falconry and a lesson in fencing, each afternoon.
Edwuard was making excellent progress in fencing. The constant practice was increasing his strength, endurance, and his muscle memory.
But Edwuard’s time fencing or working with his falcon were always shorter than he liked. Lady Elizabeth was relentless in tracking him down, whether he was in the courtyard, the field, or the high tower rookery.
After Lady Elizabeth released him for supper, Edwuard would eat, and then begin fencing practice again.
Unknown to Edwuard, Lady Elizabeth had grown fond of him. When he finally collapsed in his bed exhausted, and slept, she would tenderly check on him and tuck him in.
One night, when everyone else was asleep, Lady Rosalind could not sleep. She felt a desire to walk on one of the parapets. There, in the moonlight, a crystal ball gleamed, held by a clawed hand.
Lady Rosalind gazed into the crystal and was mesmerized. Hours later, at dawn, she returned to her bed, exhausted, but consumed with the desire for a child.
-Lady Rosalind was not abducted by the fairies, but she spent the night looking through the telescope on the highest tower. (The dragon holding a crystal ball is one of Fractured Moonlight’s Hidden Telescope recolors). I decided that I do want Rosalind to have a fairy child. I am also still considering have some kind of magic allow her to have a child with her partner, Lady Jane. I really want a character who has their genetics.
-I fully expected Brice to win the tournament, but Oakes did defeat him. Nixed Sims’ fencing is pretty remarkable, that the movements of the opponents are so well coordinated.