Klane Kalonia and the Great Burning (14) by DMFW ()
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At last they reached the blacksmith's house and were admitted with a shout of outrage and concern from the ironworker and a shocked gasp of fear and horror from his wife. Ethan was helped to the bed and a cup of water was brought for him.
“You are an angel of mercy, Clara!” he said before he drank deeply and put the cup down. Then he retold the story of the fight and how his companions had been caught unawares and set upon.
“We never had a chance; there were too many of them”, he said. “Oh they had some stupid pretext about camping ground rights but that was an excuse. The real reason was to stop us competing tomorrow. They got Rhul, Klem and Whiton, and they’ve hurt them pretty hard. Three of our best Riders but not schooled in fighting - which those thugs certainly knew! There’s no way they’ll be able to ride in the games now.”
The blacksmith and his wife exchanged a worried glance.
“That was our last hope!” the woman said. Gillan silenced her with another look. “We very much wanted my brother’s tribe to win my labour tokens in the games”, he said. “And since they had the better Riders, that’s how it should have been.”
“The Pralannian’s have changed. They think of nothing but their weapons now and they prize skilled metal workers above all others”, Ethan interrupted. “They want them to make swords and axes in their forges so they can play power games no Rider tribe has any business with.” He scowled with a mixture of contempt and pain. “They weren’t going to win the blacksmith in a fair contest, so they’re fixing the games with dirty tricks.”
Klane caught the anxious glances between the three of them and sensed that this was not the full story. There was something else going on here which he wasn’t being told.