Eschaton Of Stonebridge
Eschaton Of Stonebridge
Summary: The judicial duel between Sers Gedeon Tordane and Rygar Nayland (abridged)((no pun intended)).
Date: 29/04/289
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Gedeon Rygar 
The Stone Bridge - Stonebridge
An ancient bridge crafted of shaped stone, built in the long lost days of the River Kings. Narrow- only wide enough for a single large wagon at a time- it is of double arched construction, leaving a lane to either side of the river's center for boats and barges to pass beneath. This bridge marks the furthest point upriver which a masted vessel can reach. The best crossing between Seagard and the Twins, the bridge is well worn, with the newest addition being a row of six pikes mounted into the arch of the bridge, each displaying the tarred heads of Ironborn raiders.
29 April, 289 A.L.

The appointed day has dawned and drawn to its zenith. The namesake masonry of Stonebridge is the center of great attention, as many folk- small and great, alike- have gathered to watch the contest between incipient crane and insolent harpy. To the east is the camp of Ser Gedeon, called by some Tordane, and others Rivers, beneath a newly made gold crane on green of House Tordane. To the west is Ser Rygar, with his squire bearing aloft the cadet standard of Nayland: the orange field marked by the white harpy above a green chevron, all within a gold border.

To the west, with helm carried under one arm until the duel's commencement, so that none may mistake him for any other man, Rygar observes the elaborate ritual of the judicial duel playing out as the Seconds of the two duelists meet at the center of the bridge, in the formal last effort to diffuse the challenge without violence. Ser Anton Valentin walks forward for Gedeon, while an aged knight under the Erenford colors stands forward for Rygar.

Lord Ser Anton Valentin cuts a somewhat more imposing figure than the knight he backs today, and rather than his own phoenix and portcullis he bears the red and green of House Tordane to the bridge for his former squire. He speaks with the Erenford knight who stands for Ser Rygar, though neither look as if they have any expectation of their 'negotiation' successfully preventing the duel.

Perhaps cutting the least impressive figure of all the figures that are cut is Ser Gedeon. He has achieved a banner, but no tabard of the proper colors, so the man stands only in silvery maile, metal cap tucked under one arm, coif dangling down the back of his neck. Besides the banner, the only other colors that mark him is the green belonging the the sheath of his sword and the yellow and green stones that wink from that blade's pommel: the weapon the very same one used by Geoffrey Tordane while he lives. He's attentive, calm, holding his place to the east as the seconds go through the show of seeking a peaceful resolution.

To the surprise of none, after a brief exchange between the older Erenford and the Knight of Oldstones, the two part with token courtesies obeyed and return to the men they had spoken for. Ser Bannon Erenford speaks simply to his former squire: "The formalities have been obeyed, Ser. Gods be with you."

A curt nod from Rygar in response and the Erenford steps past his former student. The stern Nayland spares barely a sidelong glance for his Second, as his eye remains fixed upon the knight standing across the bridge: Gedeon Rivers, called by some Tordane. Drawing a deep breath, the Nayland voices- his words pitched to carry, "Ser Gedeon Rivers. I, Rygar of House Nayland, name you a traitor to the Realm in the eyes of Gods and Men." The words are rote, the statement of charges, before the duel. "I stand ready to defend the truth of these words with my life."

As he is summoned, so Ser Gedeon, whatever his last name may be, steps forward. His chin is lifted and his voice is sure and clear as he calls back the required response to such a challenge. "I, Gedeon Tordane, declare my innocence in the eyes of Gods and men. I stand ready to defend the truth of these words with my life."

Lord Ser Anton nods politely to the Erenford and heads back towards Gedeon, turning to watch closely as he and Rygar exchange words, sharp gaze sweeping the Nayland party and all those in the first rows of the audience carefully.

Ser Gedeon regards Lord Anton as he comes closer. The thinner, blonder man leans in to speak quietly to his second after a quick glance towards Ser Rygar and the Erenford.

With the call and answer completed, Rygar places the helm upon his head, secures the helm with a pin and draws the visor down. Gauntleted hands are held out to one side and his squire places the crow's beak into his hand. Feeling the heft of the weapon with familiarity. Turning in place, he offers a sharp bow from the waist to the cluster of his present kin, sweeping the polearm to one side in a sharp flourish, before he stands again to his full height and turns again to face Gedeon across the bridge. The haft of his pole-hammer is drawn vertically in salute, before he begins the walk across the bridge to let the mortal contest begin, at last.

Gedeon offers a small smile and a curt nod to his second for those murmured words before he lifts his maile coif, settling it over his head. He settles the iron cap, with its nose piece, over that. Having no kin of his own present, he turns instead towards those clustered who he believes support his claim and stand beneath Mallister-sworn or Oldstone banners. Drawing his sword, he holds it up at chest level, blade pointed towards the sky, and offers a deep bow. Then he straightens and turns to face Ser Rygar. As the Nayland salutes with his polearm, so the Tordane salutes with his sword. Then he, too, begins to walk, so that the pair of combatants will meet in the center of the bridge.

Many of those present have seen Rygar Nayland in battle. Previously the man had been noted as a conservative and meticulous warrior, yet as he strides toward the smaller Gedeon, the severe knight's movements and manner are markedly more aggressive, his motion as he draws the crow's beak high and back to ready for the first blow. To begin to duel, he strikes to slay, not to spare.

<COMBAT> Rygar attacks Gedeon with Polearm - Light wound to Abdomen (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Gedeon attacks Rygar with Greatsword - Serious wound to Chest (Reduced by Armor).

<COMBAT> Gedeon has been KO'd!
<COMBAT> Rygar has been KO'd!
<COMBAT> Rygar spends a luck point to keep fighting!
<COMBAT> Gedeon spends a luck point to keep fighting!

As Ser Rygar begins with that sudden, lethal movement forward, Gedeon holds his ground and lifts his blade to meet that downward swing of the polearm. There's a grind of metal and the greatsword pushes past, stabbing into Rygar's chest. And yet, at the same moment, Rygar's weapon strikes his belly through the maile, and Ser Gedeon jerks back and away as the mild strike causes the old, healed wound to suddenly throb.

In the initial pass of arms, both knights strike blows. Rygar's greater reach gives the first blow to the Nayland, and- while Gedeon is much fleeter of foot, and avoids the worst of Rygar's violence- the force of the taller knight's blow upon Gedeon's torso is enough to knock Gedeon back. In return however, the younger, swifter knight lands a telling blow to Rygar's chest, staggering the severe Ser. Drawing his weapon higher again, the Nayland steps again to the combat, maintaining his habitual grim silence in battle.

<COMBAT> Rygar attacks Gedeon with Polearm - Serious wound to Chest (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Gedeon attacks Rygar with Greatsword - ARMOR on Abdomen stops the attack!

In the second pass, Ser Rygar lowers and reverses the hammer head of his polearm, choosing to lead with the Crow's beak backspike in a sweeping strike that parallels the ground, seeking to deny the swifter knight the ease of his dodging. The spike tears into maile with great effect, but does not knock Ser Gedeon from his feet. Taking a blow upon his coat of plates, the lean accuser continues to press his momentary advantage.

The next attack goes less well for the Tordane knight, his sword but glancing off of the armor across Rygar's stomach. In turn, he gets a sharp jab in the chest from the polearm and another cut through the armor. Gedeon grimaces at the discomfort, but he, too, makes little noise while fighting. So there is only the shuffle of feet, the clink of armor and the clash of metal striking metal or the quieter, more frightful absence of it when metal finds flesh, instead.

<COMBAT> Rygar attacks Gedeon with Polearm - Critical wound to Head (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Gedeon attacks Rygar with Greatsword - Moderate wound to Head (Reduced by Armor).

As Ser Rygar presses on, Gedeon meets him strike for strike, and both crow's beak and greatsword crash into their opponents' heads. Rygar's cut is deeper, and blood is clearly visible trickling through Gedeon's maile coif as the blond knight trips a step backwards. His own blade is red as it comes away, though from the looks of it, Ser Rygar's wound is not so wretched.

With only his cold blue eyes visible through the visor, Rygar's stonefaced countenance goes unseen. Again recovering the weight of his weapon, Rygar draws the polearm overhead and strikes downward, seeking to overpower Gedeon's defenses. The blow as it lands is brutal and bloody. The helm does not wholly collapse, but blood is clearly visible. In the same instant, Gedeon's blow leaves a deep crease in the side of the Nayland's helm. While blood has begun to flow, it remains largely concealed beneath his armor. Grunting shortly at the impact, he continues to press the Pretender backward.

<COMBAT> Rygar attacks Gedeon with Polearm - Light wound to Neck (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Gedeon attacks Rygar with Greatsword and MISSES!

Still reeling from the last blow, blinking and shaking his head to keep blood from his eyes, Gedeon moves his sword to try and block Rygar's next grim press. He manages to knock the polearm mostly away, though its tip cuts a thin gash along his throat.

Rygar lands another blow, but Gedeon's agility- even diminished- takes the worst of the force from the blow. Taking a deft step to one side as the Rivers swordsman's blow hisses past, a sharp inhale is the only clue that his wounds pain the Nayland.

<COMBAT> Rygar attacks Gedeon with Polearm - Light wound to Chest (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Gedeon attacks Rygar with Greatsword - ARMOR on Right Hand stops the attack!

<COMBAT> Gedeon has been KO'd!
<COMBAT> Gedeon spends a luck point to keep fighting!

Rygar's shoulders are visibly heaving with the exertion of the contest, even as Geoffrey Tordane's sword draws a bright crease in the niello etchings on the back of his right gauntlet. In turn, his own blow manages to once again drive Gedeon back. He pauses a moment to, take two steady steps to the right and adjusting his grip upon the haft of the polearm, before once again stepping to the assault.

This time, as Gedeon attempts to dodge, Ser Rygar's polearm snakes through and manages a light jab to the chest. A little cut, in and of itself, but with the blood in his eyes and perhaps a bit of dizziness, the Tordane knight staggers back and down onto one knee. He lists, and for an instant it seems he may fall, but his shoves back up to his feet, shaking his head again and readying himself for the next blow.

<COMBAT> Rygar attacks Gedeon with Polearm - Moderate wound to Right Arm (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Gedeon attacks Rygar with Greatsword - ARMOR on Neck stops the attack!

<COMBAT> Gedeon has been KO'd!
<COMBAT> Gedeon spends a luck point to keep fighting!

Rygar's hammerblow once again knocks the younger knight from his feet with a blow to Gedeon's swordarm knocking the fair haired Ser Gedeon into the side walls of the stone bridge. Once again, Rygar stalks to the side, measuring his nearly crippled foe and recovering his breath for a moment, giving Gedeon the opportunity to rise or fall, before preparing his next strike.

Things seem grim for Ser Gedeon. As he gets back onto his feet, he suffers another strike, this one to his upper arm. His greatsword strikes at Rygar's throat, but only scrapes off the armor there, and as the other man's crow's beak cuts into his arm, but hard enough he's once more off his feet. One more time, he regains them. One more time, he steps back into the frey.

<COMBAT> Rygar tries to attack but has no target!
<COMBAT> Gedeon attacks Rygar with Greatsword - ARMOR on Abdomen stops the attack!

<COMBAT> Rygar attacks Gedeon with Polearm - Light wound to Right Hand (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Gedeon attacks Rygar with Greatsword - Moderate wound to Chest (Reduced by Armor).

Rygar dodges backward as the bloodied bastard of Stonebridge surges again to his feet, taking a quick blow to the brigadine, before managing a blow which Gedeon's gauntlets take the worst of. Still moving backward from his desperate opponent, Rygar grunts again as a swordblow leaves another deep crease upon the armor over his already injured ribs.

Still a little unsteady on his feet, Ser Gedeon rallies enough to hold his own as the two men clash again. He suffers a small gash to his right hand, through the maile sleeve takes the brunt of it. His sword slips beneath Rygar's guard to again strike at the man's chest, managing a good dent in the armor there, despite the blood interfering with his vision.

<COMBAT> Rygar attacks Gedeon with Polearm and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Gedeon attacks Rygar with Greatsword - Serious wound to Abdomen (Reduced by Armor).

Rygar plants the haft of his polearm across Gedeon's chest, seeking to shove the younger knight back and regain his distance, but in the motion, he briefly leaves himself over-extended. Though he is direly wounded, Gedeon is deft enough to take advantage of the lapse, staggering Rygar with teeth grinding to contain a shout of pain. He is only partially successful as he once again draws the weapon up to guard himself.

Gedeon presses his advantage, clinging with his proverbial teeth to each step forward he gains, each pace he can urge Rygar back. He waits, letting Rygar swing his polearm first so the agile knight can jerk out of the way and under. As the Nayland reaches, Gedeon uses his strength to swing his greatsword against Rygar's torso, causing another good crack to the harpy's armor across the belly.

<COMBAT> Rygar attacks Gedeon with Polearm - Light wound to Left Hand (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Gedeon attacks Rygar with Greatsword - Light wound to Neck (Reduced by Armor).

<COMBAT> Gedeon has been KO'd!

It's not much of a strike, compared to the others. Not really. Gedeon's blade manages a crease to Rygar's gorget and Rygar's polearm manages a wound to Gedeon's hand, despite the gauntlet. It's not the cut, so much as the angle, and his hand lets go, his father's sword falling and skittering away, beyond reach. Something in the blond knight simply… gives. He drops down to one knee, a hand pressed to the stone of the bridge, and while he can keep himself from falling, Gedeon cannot manage to stand again.

Rygar grunts again at the impact of the Tordane sword, but his wide stance remains steady. As his opponent slips to one knee, the severe Nayland at last breaks his silence, speaking with words clipped, "Alas that you did not live your life with the same dignity you have ended it, Ser. It would never have come to this." Drawing his polearm high, the end spike angled downward to end the duel, Rygar does not spend the breath to inquire whether Gedeon yields. When that blow falls, it will drive the steel spike to the base of the young knight's neck.

As Rygar looms closer, Gedeon peels his helm from his head and drops it to the ground. He hardly needs it, now. At last, his gloved hand can wipe the blood from his eyes and his gaze slides out among the crowd to seek out those faces he knows, those he loves, those he will never see again. And then, he looks back up at Ser Rygar, strangely peaceful even as he lifts his chin and offers the cold knight his throat. For the man's judgement on his life, Gedeon smiles softly. "And yet, ser," he answers between shaky breaths, "I lived it well." His eyes stay open as the polearm descends. There is a terrible, soft sound, and spray of blood, and Gedeon, be his Rivers or Tordane, falls sideway to the ground and is no more.