WARNING: Other players should not read this until Chapter 1 is complete.
“Blast the shell and sear the skin,” Tanivel thought to himself as he walked towards the group. The boys hadn’t noticed him yet. He tried to keep his pace even, but he was worried how he was going to get himself and Colbar out of this without any trouble. He tried to come up with a clever ploy.
[Attribute check: IQ 8, rolled 11.]
“What’s going on here?” Tanivel yelled out before he reached the circle, “Get away from my friend!”
Most of boys in the circle were of a size with Tanivel, though Colbar and Radek were taller. The three boys closest to him turned around and moved to block him from getting any closer.
“If it isn’t the wherry-headed dirt lover,” Radek called out. “Did you come to watch the bread boy lose?”
“No, I came to watch him beat you!” Tanivel yelled back as he struggled to push past Radek’s friends.
Colbar smiled. “That’s right!” He turned back to Radek, emboldened by the support. He raised his hands, reset his feet shoulder width apart, and hunched down slightly.
Radek paused and for a moment Tanivel wondered if he had rattled the boy. A dark, menacing stare disabused him of that notion. Radek was deciding whether to wrestle by the rules or use his fists.
“Fine!” he said with a cruel smile as he dropped into a wrestling stance. “Let’s do this, sand head.”
Colbar and Radek closed the little distance between them and grabbed at each other. Both wanted to use their strength as an advantage. The seem evenly matched at first, and all the boys including Tanivel started cheering.
Radek managed to get a solid grip on Colbar’s leg first but misjudged the leverage needed to topple him and ended up open for a response. Colbar blocked Radek away from his leg and dropped on his opponent’s back.
Seeing this, one of Radek’s friends jumped in and kicked Colbar’s back foot out from under him. The heavier boy collapsed.
“That’s not fair!” Tanivel started to move forward, but the other boys crowded him and kept him in place.
There was no need for the protest. Radek stood up, walked over to the cheater, and punched him square in the face. The boy staggered and fell as the crowd howled with approval. As he sat up, he wiped blood from his nose.
Radek turned back to Colbar, breathing heavily. “Get up.”
Colbar grunted and squared off again. He was even more winded than Radek and couldn’t bring himself to speak. He just nodded.
The stout boy had the advantage in the second round. He was just as muscular as the baker’s boy but didn’t have the extra weight. Colbar kept him at bay for a while, but eventually was taken to the ground.
Radek had difficulty pinning him in the sand. Colbar couldn’t get back control, but he was able to stymie the other boy’s efforts. The fight was lasting too long.
If they had been at a Gather with a referee, it would have been fine, but on a beach at night, something was bound to go wrong. Radek lifted Colbar, twisted, and dropped to the ground. There was an audible “pop”.
A sound escaped Colbar’s throat that left the beach in complete silence.
It took a moment for the shock to fade and the reality of the situation to sink in. Colbar’s shoulder was dislocated.
“I guess it’s not your day, deadglow,” Radek grunted. “Come on guys, let’s get baker boy to a healer. I’m done with these milksops.”
Tanivel rushed to his friend’s side. Colbar was pale and gasping from pain. “Ashes! That blasted lummox didn’t play fair.”
Two of the boys seemed genuinely concerned. They helped Tanivel carry Colbar back to the hold. The Healer came, followed quickly by the Headwoman. Despite her dire threats, none of the boys would admit there was a fight. It was “just an accident”.