The sparring session is more of a war-challenge than a friendly spar between two perfectly capable knights. Quentyn would have felt sorry for Cletus’ awkward rambling about ground rules, deaf in the ears of either knight, if he is not the ultimate prize for the winner in this stupid challenge – of sorts.
Really, it is all Arianne’s fault. He looks behind his shoulder, searching for Arianne’s dark brown eyes, definitely twinkling with mirth by now, finds nothing. Maybe she is too satisfied from breaking out to fits of improper laughter in the court this morning, after Ser Arthur has offered him his help on teaching Quentyn how to sharpen his swords on his own, the corner of his lips tugged in a suggestive manner.
A faraway bell rings, drawing his attention back to present. On the corner of the field, right outside the armoury, Gerris strides back and forth, testing the weight of one wooden sword to another. Bright golden eyes lift to meet his own, and Quentyn inhales sharply then looks away.
Or maybe not, he thinks, frustrated as flashes of memories from this morning – Gerris’ loud snort in the dining table, his too ‘subtle’ hateful scowl, Ser Arthur’s questioning brow – invades his mind. Arianne had already started laughing when the verbal fight ensued, so Quentyn is not really sure.
“Well then,” Cletus announces on the middle of the field. Ser Arthur marches in first, his flowing golden hair an attractive sight compared to Gerris’ curly sandy blonde ones, sharp-looking wooden sword sliding through his fingers. They glower at one another for a heartbeat, until Cletus leans back on his heels, voice screeching “Begin!” before anyone is prepared for what happens next.
Gerris charges forward, hard and sudden, graceful and calculated like the royal arrogant sod he is. He thrusts his sword without hesitation, blocks each attack with elegance most knights are lacking these days, spins around in circle after each merciless attack.
Ser Arthur is obviously exhausted, incapable of handling Gerris on his own. Something like pride swells deep inside his chest, warm and hyperactive under his skin. Quentyn ignores the whispers of ‘mine’ inside his head as he watches, a small smile lilting his face.
But then the worst happens. It has to happen due to Gerris being the arrogant smug bastard he is, has to look at Quentyn on the corner of his eyes then gives him an arrogant charming smirk and the opening Ser Arthur needs to throw him on his back.
The sword hangs low above Gerris’ left hip before it hits him hard, sending him tumbling back across the field. He tries to counter the sword, block the attack like it was before, only to have the sword thrown a few miles away from his hand. Ser Arthur’s foot is on his chest then, the tip of the sword touching the nape of Gerris’ neck. Quentyn’s stomach lurches in disgust at the smile on Ser Arthur’s face.