Both Drake and the watching crowd are shocked when I snatch the bolt out of the air. Drake overcomes his surprise quickly and dashes at me with a dagger in each hand. Considering his nature, the daggers are probably poisoned, so I don't drag out the fight.
Before he can even attack with one of the daggers I lightly backhand him across the face. Drake flies through the air while spinning and from the way he hits the ground it is easy to tell he was already unconscious. The crowd is silent once again and the only movement is the clerics that were on standby rushing over to the fallen Drake.
By the cleric's actions the crowd can tell that Drake isn't dead, but they do carry him away. To the crowd this means his injuries are bad enough that he will need treatment over time. So, everyone now understands that I dealt critical injuries to a captain with a slap.
As I move to rejoin my troop I can feel the eyes of the crowd on me, and the gazes of the nobles are hostile. After a few minutes order is restored and the judge calls for Alan and Selona to enter the field. My troops are in a celebratory mood and I let them enjoy the win for a few minutes before telling them to calm down.
They settle down once I remind them that there are more fights yet to come. Then I turn my attention to the fight that is about to start on the field. Today is the perfect opportunity for me to analyze and understand the abilities of my fellow captains.
As the fight begins I pay attention to the training level of the troops and the command ability of the captains. Alan's troop has the higher level of training, but Selona is a more imaginative commander. Alan is like a rock, hard to move, he would be best used defending a position.
Selona is the opposite, she moves constantly and would be best used as a mobile strike force. In the end even though he has better trained troops Alan cannot keep up with Selona's rapid changes in formation. Selona ends up winning but the fight takes a long time and only a quarter of her troop is left standing at the end.
As the next fight is being prepared I walk over and congratulate Selona. I also explain several training techniques that will improve her troop's stamina and mobility. By the time I am done the fight between Broc and Fallon is about to start.
The fight is about what I expected, with no tactics used at all, the two troops just charge at each other and slug it out. Fallon ends up winning, maybe because of the extra training he did with me. As soon as he is declared the loser Broc challenges Fallon, which surprises no one.
As the duel starts it is easy to tell that they are very closely matched in both strength and skill. It ends up being a long drawn out fight that the crowd enjoys thoroughly. In the end Broc gets tired first allowing Fallon to come out as the winner.
Broc seems confused by his loss, it would seem their previous fights have been a much closer match. As soon as they clear the field the match between Zikal and Roland is announced. The audience reacts with surprise since normally it would be Zikal versus Shard.
Once the fight starts it doesn't take me long to realize that these people are all idiots. Zikal's troops have a very high level of skill with the sword, but almost no tactics are used. Roland quickly wins even though one on one his troops would lose.
From this I can tell that Zikal is wasted as a captain, he should be the sword instructor for the entire army. Roland on the other hand is a master of understanding the battlefield and would make an excellent general. His only current limit is the fact that there is only so much that can be done when commanding only fifty soldiers.
Roland is the type of commander that will only be able to show his true skills when commanding an army. If I end up fighting him it will be interesting to see what tactics he has thought up to try and counter my troop. When the fight is over Zikal chooses to use the loser's challenge to fight a duel with Roland.
The crowd gets really hyped up once the duel is announced and it is obvious once it starts that it is going to be a show. Roland is highly skilled in personal combat, but Zikal is truly a master of the sword. Zikal is truly impressive, his skill is almost on the same level as Vacker's.
If it was possible I would love to take Zikal out of here and introduce the two of them. While I am imagining the fight between the two of them I almost miss watching the actual fight. Luckily it isn't a quick fight, both of them are showing excellent skills and putting on a great show.
Zikal is obviously better with a sword, but that isn't all there is to a fight. Roland is better at moving and manages to drag out the fight by constantly moving around. If they were in a ring where space was limited Zikal would win much faster.
In the end Zikal does end up winning, which isn't too surprising since Roland can't get through his defense. After they bow to each other and clear the field the judge announces the last match of the first round, Shard versus Kriton. Of course everyone is expecting Kriton to win, even me, but I am also expecting Shard to make it harder on Kriton than anyone expects.
Considering how few magical items I have seen so far, I am shocked when I realize all of Kriton's troops have magical gear. It may only be minor magic but still the cost of that much magical gear is astronomical. It turns out that the level of his troops' gear is the only thing Kriton has going for him.
His command abilities are subpar at best, only a little better than Zikal's. He is totally dependent on his troops, who are admittedly well trained as well as being well geared. Based on what I can see, anyone who had that troop would be first captain.
Shard does manage to surprise everyone and by the end of the battle half of Kriton's troops are defeated. Shard completely out maneuvered Kriton's troops and his tactics were excellent. He only lost because his troop isn't as well trained and geared.
As they clear the field and the judge announces a one hour break I can hear a lot of people discussing the fight. Overall opinion seems to favor Shard over Kriton, people noticed how bad Kriton is as a commander. The general populace comes to the conclusion that Kriton bought his place as first captain.
After having watched the fight I now know exactly how to defeat Kriton's troop. Even their gear isn't going to help them against the plan I have in mind. However, I have a couple of fights to get through before then, starting with Selona who is my next opponent.