There could be no meeting of the tribes, where rivalries were fresh in the minds, and drink close to hand, without the prospect of fighting erupting. One could as easily hold back the sun from rising, or keep the storm wind from blowing. So, too, it was with the Gathering. But the spirit that governed over Indsamling knew this, and planned for it when the great pact was put in place.
Outside the meeting hall was a stone pit with sand across the bottom, and rough stairs entering the pit. Those who had grievances may go there, and bereft of any armor or weapons, settle the matter with their fists. The intent was to fight until one side yielded, or was unable to continue, but the pact expressly absolved the fighters and their tribes of any responsibility or wergild for what happened in the ring, so long as no one cheated in the proceedings. No weapons, no armor, no magic, no potions or poisons, no interference from the outside. Other than that, anything goes.
The warriors who had observed us acted as guards to keep the two of us separate as we walked to the ring, and ushered us to either side. Once the two of us had declared our intention to fight, and taken off all our armor and weapons, we stepped down the rough steps into the ring. By this point, everyone’s eyes were on us. I’m sure this fight would have consequences beyond just the outcome of this one battle, but at this point I didn’t care. I wasn’t going to back down and be weak, like I had been before!
One of the men of the Tribe of the Wolf stood at the side of the ring, and called out the ceremonial words. “Listen now, people of the Tribes of the Icy North! Indsamling is a place of conference and unity between tribes. The Great Pact reigns here, holding all hands against each other. But in their wisdom, the signers of the Pact knew that, sometimes, matters of honor must be resolved before there can be peace between factions. To that end, they created the Ring of Honor, and allowed for fights between those who seek a resolution to their disputes without war between the tribes resulting!”
If everyone’s eyes weren’t on us before, now they most certainly were. Everyone knew that there would be fights. There were always fights. But so soon after the start? That wasn’t normal, was it?
The man of the Wolf continued, “Two warriors now have come to face each other. One against one, they shall fight for honor. No blades or weapons will they hold. No armor shall they wear. No magic or items will they use to bolster their abilities. No enemies or allies interfering from outside. Just two warriors fighting with the weapons granted to them by their birth. Now, step forward, challenger and challenged. Announce yourselves, and speak what wagers you place upon this match, and your honor.”
Grold was the first to speak, stepping forward so everyone could see him, showing off for the crowd. “I AM GROLD YOLUNNSON, WARRIOR OF THE TRIBE OF THE BEAR! FIFTY GOBLINS HAVE FALLEN TO MY BLADE PERSONALLY! MY AXE HAS TASTED THE BLOOD OF THE ICE BEAR! I CHALLENGE THIS INSIGNIFICANT WHELP OF THE ELK WHO THINKS SHE IS A WARRIOR! THIS BITCH DOES NOT KNOW HER PLACE IS TO BE ON HER BACK, WITH HER LEGS SPREAD IN THE AIR FOR A REAL MAN! WHEN SHE LOSES, I SHALL TAKE HER AS MY SLAVE, AND BREED IN HER MANY WARRIORS FOR THE TRIBE OF THE BEAR!”
I bristled at the way the arrogant bastard was talking. Oh, there was no way in hell I was going to lose this fight. Even if I had to fight dirty, I was going to take this brat down, and show everyone what it meant to insult me. Stepping forward, I flared my wings wide, getting the crowd’s attention on me. “I AM MELINDA ERIKSDAUGHTER, WARRIOR OF THE TRIBE OF THE ELK! I AM THE TWICE-SOULED DAUGHTER OF THE ELK, BLESSED BY THE FROSTMAIDEN, AURIL, GODDESS OF WINTER! WITH NO BLADE OR SHIELD IN HAND, I FOUGHT ALONGSIDE MY TRIBESMEN AGAINST THE WORGS IN OUR FIRST HUNT LESS THAN A TENDAY AGO, AND I FACED ONE IN SINGLE COMBAT, WHILE GAINING THE DEATHBLOW AGAINST THE ALPHA! THIS INSOLENT WHORESON OF THE BEAR THINKS THAT, BECAUSE HIS FATHER IS IMPORTANT, THAT HE DESERVES RESPECT HE HAS NOT EARNED! WORSE, THE FOOL BELIEVES THAT HE CAN ORDER A WARRIOR OF ANOTHER TRIBE, OR CLAIM A MEMBER OF ANOTHER TRIBE AS HIS OWN WITHOUT THEIR CONSENT! WHEN I WIN, ALL OF THE POSSESSIONS OF GROLD YORLUNNSON WILL BE MINE BY RIGHT, AND HE SHALL BE FORCED TO STAND BEFORE THE WINDS SKYCLAD TO BEG AURIL’S FORGIVENESS UNTIL THE GATHERING ENDS!”
Melinda’s Attack: 1d20+7 = 21 (Hit)
Damage: 1d6 = 4 (Bludgeoning)
When the signal to begin was issued, I did not hesitate. I struck fast, and hard, my foot connecting with Grold’s jaw. There only way in which I was holding back was that I was not using magic to hit him, so that I would be within the strictures of the Great Pact.
Melinda’s Attack of Opportunity: 1d20+7 = 27
Confirmation: 1d20+7 = 15 (Hit)
Damage: 2d6 = 10 (Bludgeoning)
Grold’s Attack: 1d20+10 = 21 (Hit)
Damage: 1d3+3 = 6 (Nonlethal) (DR 1/Cold Iron applies)
Melinda: 5/17 Nonlethal taken
Grold’s Attack: 1d20+5 = 13 (Miss)
Unlike Grold, I was trained specifically in unarmed combat. So, when I saw an opening as Grold wound his fist back, aiming to strike a heavy blow at me, I was able to respond, and hit him, hard, in the gut, attempting to knock the wind out of him. He managed to connect with the first of his punches, but compared to the blows of my tribesmen in practice, with actual weapons, it was an insignificant blow.
Melinda’s Attack: 1d20+7 = 18
Damage: 1d6 = 6 (Bludgeoning)
Once more, I darted in, moving with quickness and grace. This time, my elbow connected with Grold’s nose, signaling to the fool that he had walked into the ring with someone whose entire body was a weapon! Sure, I may not have the strength he did, but that did not mean I was helpless in a fight!
Melinda’s Attack of Opportunity: 1d20+7 = 27
Confirmation: 1d20+7 = 27 (Confirmed Critical)
Damage: 2d6 = 12 (Bludgeoning)
I saw in Grold’s eyes the instant he realized that he needed to take away my mobility in order to have a chance of defeating me. With a roar, he began to rage, and he charged at me, intending to grab me and drive me to the ground, where he thought his strength would give him the edge! My foot rose up in answer as he charged at me, and landed squarely between his legs, a blow he would not soon forget, to be sure! It certainly made him reconsider the idea of getting up close and personal with me!
Melinda’s Attack: 1d20+7 = 17 (Hit)
Damage: 1d6 = 4 (Bludgeoning)
I didn’t let up the assault just because he had been hit hard enough that whether he would be able to sire children after this bout without the aid of restorative magics had just been called into question. Frankly, this was about teaching a lesson to everyone in the all the tribes that I was no one’s prize that they could simply walk up and claim. Grold was a creep, like the one that had hurt me in my old life, and I intended to make sure he was made an example of. Another hit to his face served to remind him that he was still fighting.
Melinda’s Attack of Opportunity: 1d20+7 = 25 (Hit)
Damage: 1d6 = 5 (Bludgeoning)
Grold’s Attack: 1d20+12 = 15 (Miss)
Grold’s Attack: 1d20+7 = 23 (Hit)
Damage: 1d3+5 = 9 (Nonlethal) (DR 1/Cold Iron Applies)
Melinda: 13/17 Nonlethal taken
Grold decided that getting kicked in the groin once was enough, and abandoned the attempt to bring me down with a grapple, instead lashing out again with his meaty fists. I connected a solid blow to his right arm as he swung, making the first blow miss, but that put me in line for his other shot, and I most certainly felt his fist when it crashed into my face! I’d be sporting a black eye when this was all over, no doubt.
Melinda’s Attack: 1d20+7 = 27
Confirmation: 1d20+7 = 14 (Confirmed Critical)
Damage: 2d6 = 11 (Bludgeoning)
I couldn’t take another hit like that! I may be light and quick on my feet, but I was no barbarian who could simply soak that kind of damage! I decided to put everything into this last attack, bringing my foot up in a side kick that was powerful enough to knock the bastard off his feet!
He made no move after that, except for bleeding on the sand. I could see his chest move slightly, showing that he still drew breath, but he wouldn’t for long, unless someone stepped in to save him. I looked up to where members of the Tribe of the Bear were standing, and said, “A Son of the Bear has fallen in combat at Indsamling! Who of his tribe will pay to see him spared? And what do you offer for his life?” These were the traditional words, after all. One had to give the vanquished fighter’s tribe a chance to reclaim their dishonored man.
The crowd parted, and Yorlunn was standing there, his teeth grit tightly together, anger seeping from his every pore. Clearly, he was upset that, not only was his son bested in front of the tribes, but the one to do such an act was a woman! He tried to keep his tone civil, at least, for the time being. “You have proven yourself worthy, Daughter of the Elk. I will give you a great boon for this victory! You may join me as my new bride, and go on to sire better warriors than my fallen son.”
Ugh. I could see where the idiot got it from. Did this fool really think that offering to marry me, and making me have his kids, was a worthy reward for not killing his kid? The nerve of some people!
Melinda’s Coup de Grace: Automatic Critical
Damage: 2d6 = 10
Looking Yorlunn Bloodaxe, I lifted my foot, and stomped down, as hard as I could, upon Grold’s head. The effect was not unlike dropkicking a watermelon. A very, very bloody watermelon. Without even breaking eye contact with the outraged chieftan, I said, clearly, “Your terms are an insult to myself and my tribe. They are rejected.”
For defeating a Level 6 Barbarian (unarmed and unarmored) in single combat, you gain: 1600 XP
Congratulations, you are now Level 4.
6520 / 10000 XP needed for Level 5
HD: 1d8+1 = 6
+1 REF, +1 WILL
You have 7 skill points to distribute.
You have 1 Ability point to distribute.
+1 Bluff, +4 Concentration, +1 Tumble, +1 Use Magic Device
Unseelie Fey Abilities
Damage Reduction (Ex) – DR 5/Cold Iron
Deceive Item (Ex) – Can take 10 on Use Magic Device checks, even when threatened or rushed.
New Least Invocation – Entropic Warding (2nd level spell equivalent): Gain Entropic Shield as the spell, and Pass Without Trace as the spell, and cannot be tracked by scent.
Bonus Speed (Ex): +10 feet Base speed.
Unarmed Damage: Increase to 1d8.
I turned away from Yorlunn, and considered the notifications the voice of the world had sent me. Defeating the brat in single combat had granted me enough XP to level up, and I got a bunch of interesting things out of the mix. I decided to toss some points into Concentration, as the encounter with the worgs had taught me that, if I wanted to use my abilities in melee, I needed to be able to concentrate. For the rest, I got some pretty nice goodies, if I say so myself. I would need time to consider how to use some of them, like the Warding, and figure out their limitations. As I stepped towards the stairs, I activated the Entropic Warding invocation, and an invisible swirl of magic surrounded me. With a breath, I spread my wings, ignoring the yelling of an angry asshole behind me, and flapped once, flying up and out of the ring, heading towards our camp. I should probably speak with Oglaf and the other warriors of the tribe, if they didn’t know everything that happened already.