Fight:Parsithius and Roldan Spar
Knights Training Field, Larket
Impressive parapets overlook these worn training grounds, the practice arena for knights and warriors in hand-to-hand combat. The open-air field resounds with voices and other battle-related sounds, mostly from those training or the countless soldiers waiting their turn patiently, an underscore to the current threat. Shredded training dummies are replaced as often as is possible, each subjected to incessant abuse from the vast number of riders and blades sent through it. The air about the grounds exudes the overwhelming sense of urgency each who trains here bears, all knowing that anything short of intense concentration and flawless practice is unacceptable if they wish to save their land. Upon completion of a day's work, many of the fighters elect to relax in the new common room to the east, whilst others head down the stairs to the south. In the northern distance, minute projectiles catch the eye, apparently a similar grounds for archers. The fortress gates still remain open, though they will close at any moment, leaving you trapped unless you need to be here.
Roldan rides onto the field, mounted atop his bay destrier, the beast draped in the lord's deep red color. The man himself is dressed for training, in loose clothes, red of course. As he dismounts, it is obvious that his wide leather belt is quite empty, but the dragon-shaped hilt of Judgment rises from one side of the horse's saddle, and the large, dragonbone shield hangs from the other. The Sheriff glances about the yard, taking note of each fighter, mentally evaluating them one by one. His squire appears, a red-haired lad of no more than thirteen years, mounted upon a bay mare, a match for the destrier. The boy carries all of Lord Roldan's equipment, and at the older man's signal the squire fetches an oak staff, smoothed by long use and hardened by age. The lord taps his staff thrice on the ground; a clear challenge.
Parsithius neither rode here on his steed, nor is he clad in usual attire of shining silver platemail. The man stands amidst a throng of men in training, but the golden-haired king shows no eagerness to garner the others' worship; they respect him as a commander, as a friend, and as a fellow man. He is both bare-chested and dressed in only cotton pants worn from training, laced with dirt, and smothered with wrinkles of constant movement. In the knight's hand is a simple training staff made of oak and, like Roldan's, is smoothed by long use and hardened by age. The appearance of bay destrier draped in deep red followed shortly in his wake by a fair-skinned vassal causes the golden-haired man to slice his attention from the others in training to settle his azure gaze on Roldan just before the lord three times taps his staff on the ground. That brought the others in to circle around him as if some makeshift arena of bodies, and from the mass steps forward the king himself, into the clearing. Given enough space to fight sufficiently, Parsithius adopts a determined but otherwise stoic face upon his features, and keeps his gaze trained on his Sheriff despite a flaunting of polearm prowess; he spins the staff around in his hands and to his side several times until the sound of wood cutting the air can be distinctly heard. To finish with flourish, his muscles ripple visibly beneath taut, fair skin as he drives the staff's butt into the ground and steps forward beside it. A clear acceptance of the challenge. Contrary to previous statement of stoicism, the corner of the knight-turn-king's mouth quirks upward in a brief smirk, and the man causes his tresses to cascade by dipping his head forward in honor. Then? Abrupt movement; the man leaps into a sprint from standstill, made possible from a lifetime of training and toning his core muscles, but mastered to perfection with the definition and strength in the limbs making the movements. Hooking the staff's middle in his armpit, the man leaps again into the air not three paces from Roldan and executes a lofted pirouette, aiming to strike the Sheriff three times in the head, before landing before the red-haired knight. Not yet completed he finishes with a flourish, as usual, of flaunted skill; the man's body sinks into a crouch in fluid transition from the landing to sweep his staff at the calves of his opponent.
Jacklin comes up the path with Kelovath behind and halts on the edge of the training ground. Once Kelovath has reached her side the elder human speaks quickly, turning her head so the paladin could hear her better. "The man right there," she points to Parsithius and his fluid battle movements, "is Parsithius. He's the King of Larket and a dear friend of yours." Nodding to the knights gathered to watch she glances up to Kelovath, "He likes fighting. He controls the army in Larket and you'll be hard pressed to find another man to match his strategic skill. He leads Larket with his wife. Looks like he's having a small brawl right this moment if you're willing to watch?"
Roldan's unreadable eyes follow the king's every movement, from the moment he steps from the throng. He stands straight, his staff held vertical, and he does not move, not even to respond to Parsithius' twirling display. Indeed, it appears as though he isn't planning to move at all, even when the other man approaches at a run, staff already in motion. Then, at the last minute, Roldan seems to slide away. Used to moving and fighting in heavy plate-and-mail, the lord is graceful as a cat, unhindered as he is. The king's staff cuts the air where the Sheriff had been not moments before, and the follow-up swing swishes beneath feet clad in simple leather shoes as the red knight leaps. He lands firmly, setting his feet in a widened stance as he winds back, whipping the staff around with wicked force at the king's ribs, perhaps wanting to humiliate his leige-lord with a swift defeat. Even so, Roldan seems aware of the other's skill, for he lets the staff spin in his hands and, grasping it like a spear, slams it foward in a short thrust at the other's stomach, intending to knock the wind from him.
Kelovath nodded his head to Jacklin's words and watched Parsithius in silence, a slight smile playing over his lips as the King went on with the brawl.
Parsithius , from his position crouched on the ground, does not stop the momentum of the staff as Roldan leaps over it, and is already moving to defend and attack thereafter; the weapon is brought swirling above the gold-haired head of the king by the force of two powerful, swiftly moving arms as if some sort of barrier. The sound of oak striking oak with such force is resounding, and echoes across the training yard before a roar of the soldiers' cheers drown out the remaining sound. With this, the attack at his ribs is parried, before the King throws himself backward to avoid the thrust at his previously low-leveled stomach. Rising to a higher stance, the man pivots and turns himself clockwise in a full circle to bring about the oak staff with growing momentum and force at Roldan's shoulder, expecting it to be harder to defend since the Lord of Vibrance's own weapon was lowered previously in an attack attempt. That is not all; the man brings the front of his staff backward to attack twice at Roldan's knees, one for each, with the butt of the oak-made training weapon.
Roldan, having left himself extended with the thrust, still does not allow himself to freeze in panic as his opponent's weapon comes hurtling around again. Instead, he simply drops out flat, catching himself on toes and one outspread palm as he nears the ground, and holding himself there for a split-second as the staff flashes overhead. No sooner has it gone by than he pushes himself upward, meaning to gather his feet under him. With a meaty smack, the butt end of the kings weapon collides with Roldan's thigh, and he turns his attempt to stand into an ungainly, sideways leap, Landing in a shaky crouch a mere foot from the second underhanded blow. The Sheriff rises up, squats, and rises again in rapid succession, trying to work the sudden cramp from his leg. As he rises the second time, he steps out, feinting another thrust, then spinning the wood across his body to send the back end flashing toward Parsithius' ribs, then continuing the motion with another step, rotating the staff to slam toward the king's instep, meant to knock him off balance.
Parsithius makes an unwise move; he steps forward as the other leaps sideways ungainly, and thus it causes him to see the feign of an attack to his stomach at an improper, uncoordinated angle. In that position, the king falsely moves to block the fake attack, and lifts his staff horizontally to parry the thrust that never came. As a result, the golden-haired man's ribs are exposed, and a chorus of a roaring crowd deafens the soundly smack of oak striking flesh and ribs. The expulsion of air from the victim's lungs is muted beneath that crowd's fanaticism, but Parsithius is not one to falter after a simple strike, even if it did knock the wind out of him. So in his determination, the man is able to evade the oncoming blow that would've dislodged him and send him off balance by two swift steps backwards, as if some masculine dance and to keep him out of range while in range of a counter-attack. And that's what Parsithius attempts thereafter, as the din of the crowd quiets for baited breath in anticipation. Favoring his left side, as his right ribs were likely bruised if not broken, the man attacks Roldan's right with half of his staff, a step forward, and keeping the other half in a position to block most attacks at his right ribs; in this, three thrusts at Roldan's shoulder, ribs, and thigh are employed respectively, followed up by an attack that is feigned wide to the side, but only to put Parsithius in a position to thereafter attempt to drive his left shoulder into Roldan's gut with a crouch and snap forward.
Roldan remains expressionless, not visibly reacting even when his staff strikes home. His limp, courtesy of the first blow to land in this fight, does not seem to be going away, and it hinders him as he attempts to sidestep once again. The king's first thrust lands squarely on his shoulder, knocking him back in a swift shot of pain. Still, the Sheriff manages to throw himself into a spin, moving out of the way of the next two thrusts entirely, and giving him the advantage as the other man crouches. Instead of trying to evade, Roldan crouches even lower, demanding every last bit of endurance as the pain flares in his thigh. He is able to ignore it, however, and springs foward a split-second after Parsithius, staff clutched tightly out in front. His intention is to strike the king in the chest with both uninjured left shoulder and hardwood staff, even as the fair-haired man lunges out. In close quarters, the lord means to throw a knee out toward the other's injured ribs, hoping to drive Parsithius' fighting spirit from him in the resulting wave of pain.
Parsithius attempts to crouch even lower than the Sheriff, and the result isn't as he planned; the staff that Roldan clutched out in front of him made certain of it. Struck with shoulder and staff, the King exhales soundly and stumbles backward before twisting his own weapon behind him and stopping his backward momentum by shoving the butt of the oak stave into the ground. Straightening himself and displaying rippling muscles beneath his taut, fair skin as he does so, clad in both scars of battles past and fresh bruises from this spar, the man suddenly laughs. It is not a condescending mirth; it neither is one to belittle his Sheriff or make himself look superior, because it is one of joy. It is a laughter that echoes throughout a man with a love of battle and a certain devotion to it.
Roldan advances a step, ready to continue, until he sees the other man stop and laugh. The Sheriff allows an answering smile a moment's presence on his face, and, although it is soon gone, it shows that he holds no ill will, at the very least. Grimacing, the red lord straightens, with the help of his staff, and salutes his king. "A more worthy fight than any I have had in some time, sire," he says, sincerely.