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Captain of the Guard: A Physical Contest

September 14, 2019

“No” Cedric grimaced. “What game are we playing then?”

The man smiled down at Cedric. “A simple one. The first man out of the ring.” He pointed to the large circle of ash. “Loses.”

“Great. What are the rules?”

“No weapons, not magic or charms, no help from outside the circle.”

“Any other rules?” Cedric had seen enough cons to ask that follow up.

“No.”

“Fine.” It was tempting to step into the ring and as soon as the match started step right back out. He wouldn’t lose any money that way. He couldn’t do that though. There were other things that could be lost that were worth more than money – respect being one of them. He was going to have to fight this behemoth.

The Captain unclasped his cape and set it aside, and then stripped down to his breeches so there wouldn’t be anything for the other man to grab hold of and leverage into an easy toss outside the circle.

Cedric gauged his opponent. The man had at least half a foot in reach over him, and weighted a couple stone more. In the Captain’s case a portion of his weight was less muscle, than flesh that used to be muscle – A fact that was not lost on Cedric.
His opponent grinned at him and stepped into the circle, waiting. There were no gaps or missing teeth. Which meant that the camp boss either didn’t fight often, or was exceptionally good at it. Cedric looked at the man’s ready stance. He had a feeling it was the later.

“A swift victory, My Captain.” Vul enthused. Cedric grunted. It was going to be quick, but not for him.

He stepped into the ring warily. Prepared if his opponent decided to attack him as soon as he crossed the circle, but the Camp boss just smiled at him and waited. He kept his chin down, and raised his arms.

They circled each other. He was going to have to use his opponent’s strength and size against him, if he was going to have any chance to win. Around Cedric, Travelers and his men were shouting. Alstone had his arms crossed and was smiling. It was a content, self-satisfied smile that made him look like he had just eaten two meat pies. Vul’s eyes danced with excitement, while people took wagers around him. Whisper wasn’t around, which Cedric found reassuring.

The boss feinted, and Cedric moved back and to the side, keeping the circle in mind. The next blow hit him solidly in the chest. It hurt. Cedric was ready for the pain. You don’t go into a fight expecting to avoid getting hurt, you go in expecting to give better than you get.

Cedric didn’t wait but threw two quick jabs at his opponent, and then landing a blow to the other man’s midsection as hard as he could. The man didn’t even wince.
He didn’t completely deflect a blow by the Traveler to his head. The impact made him stagger backward. He didn’t want to think about how much that would have hurt if it connected.

Even so, he was off balance and his opponent charged him in an attempt to rush him out of the circle. Falling back, Cedric kicked out his leg and tripped the larger man, but the move further unbalanced him and they both fell to the ground.
They scrambled to untangle themselves. Cedric saw the camp boss grab a handful of dirt just in time to turn, throw up his hands and close his eyes. Grit scoured his face, and the side of his head.

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