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Fri May 12, 2006 12:24 (XFF:

Riani looked around. Yes, she was well hidden. Even standing as tall as she was – which wasn’t all that tall, of course, but still – her head did not quite touch the lowest branch; there was still a hands clearing or so. She reached up to the branch and patted it; part of her wanted to climb up on it since it would give a better view but for now she thought she would rather stand near the ground.

She knelt. The soil was moist; the rays of the sun, however strong, were not able to penetrate the thick layers of green pine above. She grunted as the moist seeped through her breeches, holding her breath as she realized she did grunt.

Seems I am safe for now.

Her tactic was a matter of pure simplicity; she wanted to win. A free day was just what she needed; she longed to be allowed to sleep as long as she wished, longed to be free to curl up in a quiet spot with one of the books she had brought from home. She wanted to win, knew that her archery skills such as they were would never ever be enough to win, and so she…improvised.

Hide, you mean, she thought to herself, what you mean is hide, so why don’t you just say it? ‘A lion survives by being a lion, a mouse survives by being a mouse’ – and right now you are that mouse, and you need to survive.

A rustling of grass caught Riani’s ear. Silently she prostrated herself, carefully pushing enough needles aside that she could see through. The boy who had stood closest to her on the range, a thin and pale one who Riani thought was most likely Cairhien, held his bow uncertainly, one arrow placed on the string. His muscles quivered, and Riani smiled; he demonstrated fairly well what Jield had addressed about not drawing the bow until one was ready to shoot.

He was only a few feet away, close enough that Riani could hear his labored breath. Apparantly he had been running and running hard, and the way he held his bow did nothing to give his breath pause. Riani made up her mind. I will have to try this; I most likely will not get another chance. Quickly, now – quickly, but quietly.

Careful not to make even the slightest sound – she had no intention of giving the boy in front of her even the merest hint of her presence before her arrow with red paint had struck its goal – Riani got up on her knees. He was looking straight toward where she knelt now, but the sun made his dark eyes squint. Lucky.

The arrow came out of its quiver without sound, and Riani made herself breathe slowly, calmly, as she nocked it, drawing the bowstring back as far as she could manage. A deep breath, a release and-

“Mother’s milk in a bloody cup!” The Cairhien, suddenly a vivid red instead of his normal pale features, touched the red stain on his shirt. “Where did that bloody come from?!” His eyes narrowed, and his voice plunged – which did not better his mood at all, of course. “That’s, that’s cheating that-“

“What do you mean, ‘cheating’?” Riani said calmly, pushing the branch that hid her aside, “I am just playing my strengths, is all.” She bent down, picking up the quiver the boy had lost when he spun around. “I will take this, since you won’t need it anymore.”


“Go on, you heard Jield Gaidin. Those who are shot loses, and should leave their quivers behind. Are you going to disobey his orders, Rasmus?”

Rasmus glared at her for a moment, then shook his head before he turned and stalked off towards the exit. Riani smiled to herself, hastily slinging Rasmus’ quiver over her shoulder before she ran towards the nearest tree. This Rough, as Jield Gaidin had called it, was big enough for there being a possibility no one had heard the exchange between herself and Rasmus, but there was no reason whatsoever to take risks.


Stopping briefly to heave for breath, Riani counted the arrows left in her two quivers. Ten. She had shot five arrows after the first had hit Rasmus, but only one more had hit – the others had been too long distance, and once she had even lost the arrow before it could leave the string properly. She blushed at the thought, but in one way the fact that she had been unable to retain the arrows was worse. She had not been willing to take the risk, pure and simple; too many people about and too many of them were people she knew to be far more adept with a bow than she was.

Not that it takes much, she thought with an embarrassed grin, sneaking towards the rope bridge connecting the tops of several tall trees.

The signal was ear-piercing. At first Riani didn’t understand what it was, but then she realized, after looking up at the midday sun, that it was the signal Jield Gaidin had talked about would herald the end of their games. Part of her was disappointed it was over, she realized; part of her was more than ready for a warm shower and some well-needed rest.

“As if, Riani,” she murmured to herself as she climbed down from the tall tree with nimble hands and feet, “you should know by now there is no way they will let you relax just yet.”

When she came out of the Rough – she had been pretty far in, she realized – a group of students were standing around Jield Gaidin. The boy she had shot first – Rasmus – looked at her with baleful eyes and reddening cheeks; he obviously had not liked that a girl had managed to beat him out of the competition. The other she had shot successfully – Kyria, who by the looks of her was Andoran – actually smiled, though, and Riani smiled back.

“I apologize for taking so long, Jield Gaidin,” she murmured with a bow, “I was pretty far into the Rough, and it took a while to get out.” She wanted to ask if she had won – that would be something, a girl more or less without any skill in archery winning over some of these boys and men who looked like they had held a bow at least a few times before at minimum – but she decided not to. If she had won Jield Gaidin would surely say as much, if not it was an embarrassment she would quite frankly rather avoid.

(OOC: I hope I did not god-mode, if I did I request you delete this thing and notify me through e-mail and then I will edit as needed.)

  • Part Three: GamesJield Gaidin, Head Gaidin, Tue May 9 04:10
    Jield began to walk up and down the archery yard yet again, slowly pacing back and forth as he watched each trainee fire arrows at the target as they had the day before. It was now a new day, and... more
    • End Game!Tain Aethan'Tar, Thu May 18 03:09
      The resonating twang of a bowstring split the silence of the yard. The sun was on its last legs and was slowly sinking behind the horizon. A soft pleasant breeze played across the young Aethan’Tar’s... more
    • Treachery — Riani Aethan'Tar, Fri May 12 12:24
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