THE RIGHT OF CHAMPIONS: A DUEL BETWEEN RIVALS

A HISTORICAL TEXT FROM NYBELMAR

 
Nybelmar: A Collection of Chronicled Happenings   
  Click on the book's name to view the Table of Contents
  Click on the author's name to view the Author's Index
  3 pages (Download is available Download text)

Introduction. This account details ‘Selios the Champion’, the first Cyran champion of the Zhunite Games who eventually rose to be most praised Archon in the history of Cyras, and his rival Nakratos, a Karakanite athlete turned military captain. Claiming to be the greatest athlete in all of Zhun and the long-standing 'Titan of Karakan', Nakratos was shamed by his defeat at the hands of Selios, an amateur and underdog, in the Trials of Strength at the Zhunite Games, an event which the Karakanites had won consistently for forty years. As customary for successful athletes, both Selios and Nakratos were instated to their respected militaries and were made captains. Bitter and vengeful, Nakratos sent his company against Selios, knowing that to avoid bloodshed he would invoke the ‘Right of Champions’- a Zhunite military tradition whereby a battle between two forces could be averted if both commanders agreed to a fight to the death.
 

rom accounts by Trakos Nalasan (At the time one of Selios’s bodyguards who eventually rose to the rank of general)

We watched as our champion readied himself. As Nakratos had done, he had removed his armour, both wore nothing but their dark leather sandals and loose-fitting loincloths, the rays of Therano’s light catching each soft serration of their chiselled, athletic bodies. After coating his hands with the dry dust that covered the hot, cracked earth of the Table he clutched his spear, the sharp, metallic head shimmering as his bronze skin did. Strapping the Cyran dagger to his thigh, which was as much a symbol of pride as it was a weapon, he prepared himself for the clash with his nemesis.

Nakratos' broad chest heaved as he swung around Hammer of Might, the trophy of the Seran Games and a reminder that his strength had, at least once, exceeded that of our champion. With a Tooth of Sérás strapped to his arm, a curved dagger acting as a badge of office in the barbaric Kárákánite military, he too prepared for the clash, his rigid jaw clenched and cold eyes sending Selios a piercing stare.

As Therano plucked his sun to its highest house, the wash of light hit both our shields and those of the Kárákánites, bathing the two warriors in a blinding light.

It was like watching Gods fight.

Letting out an enormous cry Nakratos charged our champion, swinging the gargantuan bronze hammer from side to side as he darted towards him. Selios readied his spear and, invoking the Cyran hunter within him, deftly outmanoeuvred his opponent. Frustrated, and slightly confused, the Titan of Kárákán turned and launched himself at Selios, diving through the air. The Titan hurled the huge metal hammer into the chest of our champion, forcing the breath out of his lungs, leaving both men thrown to the floor.

Winded, and injured, our champion lay on the floor for a handful of moments, collecting himself with deep inhalations of the hot, Zhunite air. Nakratos rose from the ground, his skin now covered by the grey dust, and moved towards our floored champion. Rising to again clash with his nemesis, Selios took his Cyran spear and launched it through the thick, sticky air toward its Kárákánite target. Nakratos, his anxious, aggressive sweat mixing with the grey dust stuck to his skin, did his best to avert himself from the missile, though our champion’s true aim caused it to pierce the calf of his brutish opponent.

As Nakratos tried to pry the spear from his leg, his hands bloodied in desperation, Selios’ swift feet darted towards his injured prey, holding his Cyran dagger as he charged. Our champion was, however, quickly stopped in his tracks. Tearing the spear from his penetrated muscle, Nakratos swung the weapon’s wooden shaft deftly into the jaw of the approaching Selios, throwing him some peds away. No longer concerned with nursing the grievous wound, Nakratos set out for a brutish demonstration of force.

Throwing fist after humongous fist into the skull, throat and chest of the wearied Selios, Nakratos switched his own dried blood for the fresh red of our champion. As dust and blood covered him, Kárákán’s Titan seemed to diminish our champion's godly strength, and Selios lay broken in the dirt.

Rising from the battered Cyran, Nakratos moved to reclaim his hefty Hammer of Might to deliver the fatal blow, confident that his onslaught had left our champion powerless. As he clasped his brutal hands around his trophy, Selios grew restless. Rolling through the dry, cracked dirt and clutching his Cyran dagger and his spear in an almost poetic movement, our champion sliced through the tendons in the heels of the re-armed Titan. As his nemesis squealed with pain, his gash oozing torrents of blood, Selios rose to his feet.

Abandoning his dagger in favour of the spear, Selios faced Nakratos and prepared to deliver the fatal strike. He looked at his enemy, brought to his knees by the torment of his wounds, his spearhead grains from his throat.

Our champion hesitated.

Instead of slicing open the Kárákánite’s jugular, he thrust the spear into the Titan’s thigh, piercing his flesh, thrusting through the man’s femur and directly into the dry earth, trapping the man on the cracked ground of the Lingradau’s Table.

Selios rose and looked upon his defeated foe, his spear pinning him to the floor as the heat of Therano’s light only intensified his torment. Nakratos’ eyes were not stricken with pain, however. His gaze was pierced with shame. Nakratos was born and bred to seek victory by whatever means neccesary and to disregard the other Zhunites as lesser and weaker than himself. And now, under the flowing scarlet banners that struck fear into the hearts of the Dragon Lord's enemies he lay defeated, skewered to the earth by the spear of a Cyran. A solitary tear erupted from the Titan's stone-like gaze. His face contorted in despair, as if to manifest the anguish of his heart at the realisation he had failed Sérás and he would never be forgiven.

Our champion looked to the Kárákánites that surrounded their fallen commander. Their dark brutish features contorted to countenances of disgust as the light radiating from their bronze shields, the same light that had made their Titan seem like a God, became only a spotlight that exposed his fragility and failure. There is nothing that the Kárákán’ámár despise more than defeat.

The victor turned to speak.

‘The Right of Champions is settled, with Cyras victorious. You may take your Captain and return home’.

The eyes of the Kárákán’ámár burned with rage, each man contributing to the collective hate that torrented toward Nakratos as he remained staked in the dirt, baked by the sun.

‘Kárákán does not want a warrior who will fall to a Cyran’

Nakratos was not shocked by this sentiment. He had known from the moment Selios had spared him the fatal blow that he had been cast from the City of Dragons and would never again walk between the resolute Rivalling Towers to the chorus of victory. The fallen Titan's cold eyes agonised. He would have preferred death. The scarlet standards were taken down and, at the sound of the Wardrum, each of the traitorous brutes turned their back on their leader and began their march back toward the Dragon’s Back. Each one cursed the name of Nakratos as they departed, creating a flurry of abuse that the idle Zhunite breeze swept around the broken Captain.

Selios, struck by the readiness of the Kárákánites to abandon Nakratos, looked and pitied the man he had transfixed into the hot earth of the Table. As Nakratos' men disappated into the distance, Selios' grudge with the Kárákánite had ceased. Now, at the climax of their rivalry, our champion felt sympathy for his adversary as every element of the Titan's god-like presence flowed from him like the rivers of blood that poured from his wounds, quenching the dryness of the dust.

Our champion turned to us, the light from our shields bathing him in a translucent honey-like hue that washed against his tired physique. As he stood before us, bloodied and beaten, his divinity was, if anything, enhanced. Reclaiming his shimmering breastplate and adopting his flowing cloak of rich Cyran green, Selios began our return to the City of Labours, where his prowess would undoubtedly be rewarded.

Soon, Therano's light would be plucked from the sky and the advent of dusk would herald the predators that roamed the Table.

Nakratos would feed the Lingradau tonight.
 


Return to the Book
Click on the book's name to view the Table of Contents
or the
Click here to view the Author's Index
 

Historical text written by Decipher Ziron View Profile