The Competition

Post date: Aug 01, 2010 8:53:34 PM

Sjach rode fiercely , his horse's hooves racing in time with the rider's breathing. The half-dragon clutched the rescue doll in one sharply clawed hand and urged Vivex faster toward the awaiting General.

General Aifos stood alone so that would mean he was the first team to return! He won!

Horse and rider skidded to a sliding stop and Sjach jumped down swiftly. He saluted the half-elf General and smiling, he raised the doll above his head in victory.

Sjach followed Aifos' gaze to the headless, shredded rag doll clenched tightly in his taloned hand. General Aifos shifted his impassive eyes to Vivex, now moving about 20 yards away in a full gallop. The massive warhorse merrily chomped on the rescue doll's head like a dog with an extra juicy bone.

"Fail. Stay till the rest arrive so you can fully observe your errors.Half rations for you both."

Disheartened, Sjach untangled his claws from the mangled cloth and stood with his shoulders hunched in shame.

Arriving at the clearing, three riders came in, each with their rescue dolls in different positions.

One trainee had gone so far as to actually talk to his doll!

The first of the group rode with the rescue doll tied to his back.

"This was a conscious rescue. Fail. You're dismissed."

The 2nd one racing in at full speed, had his rescue doll slung over one shoulder. When commanded to stop, the horse bucked and threw off his rider who landed on the rescue doll.

"Fail. You're dismissed."

The third rider trotted in, carefully holding the rescue doll over his lap, with one hand tucked securely around her waist. This guy was actually talking to the doll!

General Aifos nodded approval and gestured the talking man forward. The trainee bowed to him and stopped his horse with alacrity.

"Well done Kratas. You and Thunder have completed the task successfully. Double rations for both of you and you may take the Seat of Honor at my right tonight at dinner. Dismissed."

Before they could say another word, all eyes were drawn to the riderless horse running across the field.

With reins dragging the ground, Vivex bounded across the field, tossing the doll head up in the air and catching it.

Aifos lifted an eyebrow at Sjach and the half-dragon spent the next half hour chasing the horse up and down the meadow.

After finally catching, grooming and feeding Vivex, Sjach returned to the stern General's side.

"Sjach what was the purpose of the competition today?"

"To rescue the damsel fast as we can."

"You're half correct."

"Half Sir?"

"It's about rescuing those in need as safely and quickly as possible. Have you forgotten that we are half dragons?"

"No. Yes. Well maybe for a little while Sir." He shuffled his feet uncomfortably under the heavy condemnation.

"Your enthusiasm and bravery are admirable of course, but it's not enough to be Elite. The Elite Dragon Samurai are expected to be stronger, braver, smarter and more courageous than mere human or elven soldiers."

Aifos pinned him with a stare.

"I may be half dragon, but I am also half elf. Humans, elves and their half-bred counterparts simply aren't as strong as half-dragons. Never forget your strength for even a moment. I don't say this to be prideful. I say this to remind you that we have a responsibility to help and protect anyone who is smaller or weaker than us."