Prompt for September 30: The Challenger

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[Prompt from http://daily-writing.blogspot.com/ . This excerpt is from a novel series idea: Hand of Fate series.]

“And that is how it is done.” Corvinous wore a large smile, a rarity in and of itself.
Amicus was hunched over, his hands gripping his knees for support. Though he was breathing heavy, I could see a smile on his face as well as he shook his head back and forth, sending his blond curls flying.

“Yes. You are right,” he sighed. “No one is a match for your skill, Anti.”
They both began to chuckle. Chuckle! When I first met these warriors, they all seemed like war and death had turned them all into stone. But apparently stone can still laugh.

“Let me have a go.”

The laughing stopped. Everyone turned to look at the gate of the stadium. Still wearing the rags Todd found him in, Ossin had his sword—his father’s sword?—in one hand and a large shield in the other. He was biting his lip and his body bent to the side while the arm holding the shield began to shake.

Neci and Silvia were standing behind him. Silvia was holding Neci back.

The light and smile vanished from Corvinous’s face. In an instant, he was the same hardened warrior I saw when I first came to Aemilia. The same shiver returned to my shoulders at the sight of his gaze.

“You want to challenge me?” Corvinous asked. His voice, calm and quiet, traveled through the silent arena. “I am the antistrategos of the Morphia, the pentestrategos of the Candrian army.”

Ossin clenched his teeth. “I know very well who you are. I long to fight.”

I looked from Crispin to Vitus and back. Someone had to stop this madness. Corvinous looked like he was in his late twenties early thirties. And Ossin? He was only a teenager. Maybe just a little older than me.

“Give the boy a chance,” Todd called from the armory door. “It was not long ago that you humored a young fox in his rage, if I recall.”

I blanched. “Cris, do something.”

He shook his head. “Todd is right.” Louder, he called, “Do not spare the lad.”

“Here here,” Amicus said, stepping away from the center and towards us.

As Ossin walked towards Corvinous, my stomach felt like it was eating itself alive.

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