Chapter 7: Olympic Games
Sixty thousand people in the crowd cheered their approval to the representatives of each race, as they marched inside the center of the new stadium of Belatona. The sky was clear and the weather was perfect for the competitions that would follow. Some of the athletes were already sweating from the heat of the morning sun and the anxiety of winning. The humans shouted and whistled as they sang songs and drunk beer from their mugs. Some of the men were drunk already, making a fool of themselves, laughing and telling bad jokes to everyone in earshot. A child looked at admiration at the athletes as his father lifted him on his soldiers for him to be able to see over the crowd. The women discussed with each other and commented the athletes, discussing who was the most good looking and laughing among themselves.
The dwarves stamped their feet and drunk their beers from their mugs as they sung songs and danced with each other. They looked in amazement at the sheer size of the stadium and the number of people that was in it. They cheered for the dwarves athletes.
The Urgals all gave scary war cries and praised their God of War and the Godess of Victrory to help them in this important day to win over the other races. This attracted many worried glances from the crowd around them but they were quickly ignored as a beautiful song was heard.
There were few elves in the crowd. They cheered their athletes and laughed too as they discussed with each other how many victories they would have. A elf woman was singing a beautiful song and everyone stopped what they were doing to listen to the beautiful melody. When she was halfway through the song the crowd cheered her and sang with her.
There were people selling food and drinks, and elves selling a special drink called Faelnirv. It was a very strong drink served only in the most special of occasions buy the elves as they informed the humans who did not know what it was. A man in the crowd was breathing fire from his mouth, a large crowd around him cheering him on, as they put money on a bucket he had on the floor. A few meters away, was a man swallowing swords. It was an extraordinary sight and many people were amazed and even looked with open mouths at him. When he was done, they clapped and gave him a beer.
On the upper level of the stadium, was where the most important people of Alagaesia sat. On this platform, was the throne, where High Queen Nasuada would sit and watch the games. Near her, was a throne for Arya, and on the left side a large empty space, where her green dragon Firnen could sit. Arya looked at the proceedings with curiosity, talking with Firnen. Next to her, Orik, king of the dwarves, sat thoughtfully. King Orrin was sitting a few meters away, with a big smile on his face. Roran Stronghammer was there too, with his wife Katrina, holding little Garrow on his arms, as Ismira looked on with jealousy in her eyes.
Trumpets were heard and a lonely slim figure entered the stadium. She wore a Green dress over her black skin and her hair was well combed and tied. The crowd grew silent as they wanted to hear what their queen would say.
"People of the Empire! It is an honor to be here and be able to announce this event to you. Many years ago, the hero, Eragon Shadeslayer met with me and told me of his dream that one day the people of the land could compete against each other in peace and not in bloodshed. That they could live together and be happy together, in a great event. I came here today, and I saw what he saw, in his vision, so many years ago. The day he dreamt of is today! Today we write history! I hereby declare the start of the First Olympic Games in Alagaesia" she shouted with all her might and the crowd cheered and whistled.
First started the sword fighting competition. There were many participants from all races. Clearly, the elves had the advantage because of their speed and strength, but the Kull warriors were also very strong. People started betting on who the winner of the matches would be. They bet larger and larger sums of money and clearly, Nasuada could see that many fortunes would be made and lost this day. Most matches did not take long to finish, but some, especially the ones between elves or humans lasted for more than half an hour. At the end, there were only four participants remaining. Vanir, the elf ambassador, another elf named Dathedr, a human named Lortas and a Kull named Velsus.
Nasuada looked at the four participants with interest. Lortas would fight with Vanir and Velsus with Dathedr. She called a man taking the bets and said loudly.
"I think I will bet some gold on Lortas. And some more on Velsus." she said taking a few gold coins from her pouch. The man accepted the coins with great care, avoiding eye contact.
"Your highness. I will place the bet immediately." he answered and ran to be able to get in time, before the match began.
Vanir stretched his legs one more time. He looked at the human he was about to fight. He was confident he could win the match, without too much effort. The human lunged forward in a quick attack. With a quick motion, Vanir took advantage of his speed, taking a step sideways, avowing the blow. With a quick motion of his hand, he tried to hit Lortas on his back, but at the last moment Lortas managed to block the blow. Lortas counter attacked and with a swing he pretended a hit on Vanir's left but suddenlly changed direction. He managed to hit Vanir on his hand.
"Aaah" the crowd watching said as they watched the struggle.
Vanir was angered by the hit and with a series of quick blows, he had Lortas on the defensive. Somehow, the human managed to block his blows and Vanir was impressed by his skill. Vanir avoided another slow counter attack, as the human started to tire, and with a rush, he grabbed the human and with his leg tripped him on the floor.
"Oooh" the crowd cheered surprised.
With a quick motion, before Lortas could roll away, Vanir pointed his sword on his neck.
The crowd cheered. Vanir had to admit, it was a difficult fight. He gave his hand to the still lying human, and he accepted it.
"Vanir, Vanir" the crowd shouted his name
Near them, Dathedr was still fighting with the Kull warrior Velsus. Mighty blows were exchanged on both sides, that could easily kill a human. Dathedr was taunting Velsus, trying to anger him, to make him lose his concentration. Velsus ignored him and waited for him to attack. Dathedr lost patience and with a quick attack, he managed to hit Velsus on the leg. The kull shouted in pain, but with a quick motion of his sword, he stopped his blade, a few inches away from Dathedr's neck.
Vanir looked with his mouth open. He was surprised the Kull had won Lord Dathedr.
The final of the sword fighting competition had arrived, and it was him against Velsus. The Urgals cheered for Velsus along with half the stadium, while the other half cheered for him. He felt his heart beating with anxiety. He wanted to win this competition.
He slowly walked to the centre of the stadium, as did Velsus. They looked at each other for a while, and the Vanir lunged forward and attacked the Kull. His blow was blocked easily, and the kull tried to come closer to attack. Vanir knew that he had to stay away and had to take advantage of his faster skills as the kull was as strong as him, maybe even stronger. He quickly attacked again, on the Kull's right side and rolled on the ground, avoiding the blade coming his way, He lifted himself up and attacked the Kull on his left side. He continued this way for quite some time, the Kull taking one blow after the other and Vanir trying his best to not get too tired. Finally, in frustration, Vanir shouted in rage and attacked the kull, locking their blades. He punched the Kull's stomach and with a quick motion of his sword, injured the kill's hand making him drop his sword. Before the kull could react, Vanir lifted his sword at the kulls heart.
The crowd cheered their approval at Vanir's victory.
The athletes of the archery competition were also almost over, as Mandel, the villager from Carvahall was antagonizing an elf for the win. To the astonishment of the viewers, Mandel managed to win the match,and the elves in the stands could not believe their eyes.
On the other side of the stadium, the fighting competition was taking place. Roran Stronghammer, the hero of Carvahall was fighting an elf named Aragost and a huge muscular human that looked like a giant named Alarik was fighting a Kull named Borgas.
Roran tried to avoid a punch coming his way, and managed to do so, but the elf was too fast for him. Roran was frustrated as every attempt he made to hit the elf, he managed to avoid it with his speed. Roran knew he could not win the elf in the fight. He knew that he needed to do something risky to have chance at hitting him. The elf tried another punch and Roran let it through his defense, and it connected to Roran's stomach. However, this time the elf had no time to avoid his blow and he managed to punch the elf on the face and then with a push they both fell on the ground. A cheer erupted form the crowd, clearly wanting Roran to win the fight. They struggled for an advantage against each other and finally, Aragost, managed to lock Roran's shoulder. Roran realized that if he did not yield, Aragost would break it. He extended his hand and slapped the ground, yielding the fight.
The elf immediately stopped and lifted his hands in celebration. Roran congratulated him and then walked stiffly towards the crowd. He looked at the other pair and saw that Alarik and Borgas also had fallen to the ground. Alarik was punching the Kull, with all his strength on his horns, and the kull was trying to pull the shoulder of Alarik, which he had locked on a hold. Finally, with a sudden movement, Alarik grabbed the kill's neck and pressed, as the kull submitted.
Alarik looked at Roran, with a smile and Roran nodded towards him. He had not met him in person but he was impressed by Alarik's strength.
From the stands, Nasuada watched as Alarik now fought the elf. She was impressed by their speed and technique. She had bet that the elf would win the fight but Alarik had shown he was a tough opponent.
"My Lady, please excuse my intrusion and follow me. I would like to discuss with you an important personal matter. " Farica said with a trembling voice, whispering in Nasuada's ear.
"Of course Farica. What is it?" she said with concern as she lifted herself from the throne and followed her quick pace. She had noticed that something was off with her handmaiden that day and she began to worry it was something serious. She had grown a liking to the woman as she was one of the few people who had stood with her and taken care of her in the hard times of the war against Galbatorix. Farica kept walking for a while, and then turned and entered a to a somewhat secluded room, that led to the stairs for exiting the stadium. She entered the room, and her twelve nighthawks and Jormundur followed her inside.
Farica suddenly stopped and Nasuada almost fell on her. They were not alone in the room. A muscular man was blocking their way. He was a tall muscular scarred man with dark armor. Near him, were six more soldiers inside the room. Sensing danger, Nasuada hid on the side of the room, her back on the wall. She narrowly avoided a dagger that was thrown towards her, which instead buried itself on the throat of one of the Nighthawks that was behind her. The man died instantly, collapsing on the floor. The rest of the Nighthawks, drew their swords and ran to protect their queen from the attack of the seven men, while Jormundur shouted at her.
"My Queen! Run!" he urged her and Nasuada did so.
She ran towards the door they had come in, but as she came closer, more enemy soldiers appeared. They entered the room and closed the door behind them. Nasuada and the Nighthawks were trapped, their only escape route blocked by enemy soldiers.They were outnumbered but they would fight to the death to protect Nasuada, and fulfill their oath. A scream was heard and droplets of blood flew on Nasuada's dress as a Nighthawk managed to behead one of the enemy soldiers. He didn't have time to celebrate as with a heavy swing from his mace, the muscular man hit the Nighthawk on the head, crushing his skull. He sidestepped to avoid a blade and hit the man on his shield, breaking the man's hand. Nasuada quickly threw a dagger and saved the man from a sword, as the enemy soldier collapsed on the floor.
"To me!" she shouted and the remaining Nighthawks struggled to come near her and protect her. She could see the fear in the faces of the Nighthawks, as they knew they were fighting a losing battle. She took a sword from a fallen soldier and with it she tried to stab an enemy. The man avoided the blow and with a counter attack, he injured Nasuada on the arm.
"I want her alive!" Nasuada heard the order from the man with the dark armor.
She looked around as the Nighthawks killed and died around her faster than the eye could see. There was only one chance of escape, if they somehow managed to overpower the men blocking their way to the stairs, they could escape. Jormundur shouted for Nasuada to follow him. The desperation in his voice, made her listen to him, and she quickly followed, fighting her way through the enemy soldiers.
" On the count of three, I will overpower them and you will run as fast as you can down the stairs. Do you understand?" he asked.
Without waiting for an answer, as he blocked a blow, Jormundur shouted "one" Nasuada pressed her sword with all her strength trying to calm down " two" the seconds passed surprisingly slow, as she tried to find a clear way "three!" Jormundur shouted and took off, his shield bashing an enemy soldier, clearing a path for Nasuada. She ran and stabbed the stunned man on the neck, and continued on her way without slowing down. Jormundur blocked some blows with his shield, and sword and counter attacked stabbing a man on the stomach and chopped another man's hand off. He stabbed a third soldier, but was too slow to recover, as his sword got stuck on the man's spine. The man with the dark armor swung his sword and cut Jormundur on his shoulder, breaking the bone.
Nasuada heard Jormundur's shout of pain and she quickly dispatched of the last remaining soldier from her way to freedom. She looked back for just a second as Jormundur lifted himself up. He was infuriated, but he had lost his weapon in the confusion. He punched the man with the dark armor with all his strength on the face, but the man stabbed him first on the stomach and then on his throat. Jormundur fell on the floor dead.
"No!" Nasuada cried and as the man's eyes fell on her, she turned around quickly and descended the stairs.
"After her!" the man shouted. Six of the soldiers turned to chase Nasuada but a few remained to kill the last two remaining Nighthawks. They were quickly killed, as they were outnumbered and overpowered, but not before another man was lost.
Malik looked at the man named Jormundur. He still felt the pain on his face, where the metallic glove had hit him. His nose was bleeding from the hit, and was probably broken. He felt anger for the man and spat on the dead body.
The Queen had escaped for now but hopefully his men would catch her before she managed to escape. King Orrin would be furious if he heard she had escaped. He hoped he would not end up like poor Norson. He looked at the dead bodies of his fellow soldiers and the Nighthawks. He had lost many men in the fight. It was a perfectly placed trap but somehow the queen had managed to escape.
He quickly turned around and walked towards the stairs, calling his soldiers to form around him. He still had many things to do to help capture the city.