The sun looked down from its zenith upon the forum of justice. The stands were nearly half-full today. The crowd—gathered by a case as monumental as the King of Rurr and a match-up as compelling as the undefeated archer against the rising spear woman—was still a pale shadow of the masses that had thronged to see justice done in the glory days of Vert.
Qaansoole stood at the north end of the forum, her patched cloak fluttering in the breeze. She tested the pull of her bow. A short sword hung from her belt on one side, an empty quiver on the other. Qaansoole’s arrows protruded from the ground in the middle of the forum, nearly sixty cubits from where she would begin the fight.
Sabit stood sixty cubits south of the row of arrows, switching her grip upon her spear in rapid succession from one stance to the next—despite the issue of balance, no better weapon had presented itself. Sabit had draped a peculiar sort of knotted net over her left arm, weighted at the ends for throwing. The overseer gave a gap-tooth smile of approval. Sabit looked around at the other champions. The Magistrate had ordered them to form a ring along the outer walls of the forum, with orders to keep the two combatants clear of the stands. He would not allow another trick like Sabit’s last trial.
The Magistrate stood and spoke. He summarized both the claim of the King of Rurr—that his trading ship had been seized by the prince of Yuheim—and Yuheim’s honest protestations of innocence. He then raised his hands and asked for the divine favor of Verq, patron lady of justice, to work through the champions to levy a fair and unbiased verdict. In a loud voice, he shouted. “Let justice be done.” An attendant blew a single, clear note upon a silver horn.
Qaansoole launched herself toward her arrows in the center of the forum. The archer’s legs pumped with blinding speed, driving her toward her goal.
Sabit also dashed for the center of the forum, her long strides devouring the distance. Net fluttering over one arm, her other hand held her spear in an overhand grip, poised to strike down—and through—her onrushing foe.
Within moments, the two champions would meet at the center of the forum. There, their fates would be decided.
Wayfarings of Sabit: Broken Justice is copyright (c) 2016 by Michael S. Miller. All rights reserved. New chapters post every weekday. You can support this and other stories on Patreon: https://patreon.com/michaelsmiller or http://ipressgames.com/fiction/