A nearly audible snap lifted the fog. His eyes brightening, Ryan narrowly voided the telling blow and shoved on the passing sword hilt. Momentum carried Tyrel several steps, enough time for Ryan to sweep the field and reassess his position. Brent was no longer fixated on him but looked past to Michael, who was in turn crumbling before a furious Anieka. The situation came clear in that moment.
Ryan knew by skill alone Tyrel would prevail. His own saber training was for competition, not life and death. Both men were tired, Ryan more so from fighting Michael’s fog along with the Duke’s sword. But there was another path, and sheer anger powered him to it as he leapt at Tyrel, who had to parry furiously in return as the sudden change in attitude caught him off guard. In the eternity between blows the balance shifted. A series of slashes, a critical step misjudged and Tyrel threw himself off balance to keep his face intact. No recovery possible as the weight of Ryan’s anger and blade followed through to drive him to the ground. The saber flashed down at his chest, his arm flung wide and sword too far to attempt any defense.
“Ryan!” “No!” Anieka, Brent, a chorus of voices that could never brake the descent of death.
They didn’t have to; the point of the saber settled to rest in the hollow of Tyrel’s ribs, just enough to break skin. A tiny flower of blood blossomed on his shirt. Ryan’s voice grated out between harsh breath. “Do…You…Yield?”
Tyrel looked th Ryen, he cold fury that held his life in hand. His own death would fuel the rebellion, cause the King to cast aside these foreigners in political defense. Rael would be safe for a time, to stand supreme against the evil of the modern world, secure against outsiders. Stained by his blood. His honor, his death. “... I yield.”
Climbing slowly to his knees where Ania had flung him as she tried to prevent tragedy, Michael rasped out the ritual ending words: “I so witness. The terms as agreed.” His head bowed in defeat and pain. “Honor is satisfied.”