H'lan felt the reassuring grip of Gor'chec on his shoulder before the hand pushed him slightly toward the platform. H'lan thought of nothing as he grabbed hold of a rope hanging from the platform and pulled himself up, flipping onto his feet when he reached his destination.
Since H'lan was the eldest son of T'sak it was his duty, as the accuser, to meet each of the accused in combat. The first to face him was Fr'uk'so, as the eldest male of the family and the younger brother of the deceased Juk'so. H'lan remembered with clarity the last time he had faced Fr'uk'so, when the warrior had given him such a 'hearty' welcome to the clan. Since that day Fr'uk'so had not hesitated to remind the young man of his defeat and it appeared from his facial features that he was, once again, going to remind H'lan of that day.
Fr'uk'so leaned in close to H'lan as he passed him, "I will wipe the floor with your blood, pup."
H'lan said nothing, though he really wished to make his own comeback but Gor'chec had cautioned him. The Matriarch did not think much of male bragging, but she did value honesty, loyalty and a male who knew when to keep silent.
H'lan flexed his hands, giving a nervous appearance that made Fr'uk'so chuckle. 'Get him as sure of himself as possible,' Gor'chec had advised. 'The more confident he is, the more off-balance he will be when you show your true self to him.'
The Matriarch raised her hand and dropped it, signaling the start of the fight. Fr'uk'so rushed in with times steps, not the unruliness of an inexperienced warrior but with the ease and cunning of a hunter. H'lan dodged the outstretched arm, that would have hit him in the head, and rolled out of the way. For all of Fr'uk'so's experience in hunts against formidable prey, he was too confident of a victory he had yet to win based on the last time he had faced the human son of T'sak.
H'lan knew that Fr'uk'so had counted on a short match, it was plain to anyone by how the warrior threw his strength in each attack, but the young son of T'sak had no plans to go down at all. H'lan saved his energy, making no unnecessary moves as he avoided Fr'uk'so's attack and then, when he could see that the other warrior was growing impatient, he allowed himself to be hit. The Yautja watching were at various stages of pleased or concerned when H'lan staggered close to the edge, teetering for a moment before falling to one knee.
The only two who were not concerned were Gor'chec, having taught that particular move to his student, and H'lo'kor, who also recognized H'lan's technique from their training days. These two hunters watched with appraising eyes as H'lan baited Fr'uk'so to move in closer, feigning an injury, and then the human moved.
H'lan came up in a rush, not giving Fr'uk'so any time to comprehend what had happened. A harsh jab to the soft part under the chin, followed by a strike at the throat then groin. Fr'uk'so fell to the mat, wheezing for air as the watching Yautja stood up in excitement, wanting to get a better move. H'lan did not cease moving, his enemy must have no time to recover. Leaping up into the air, H'lan came down on Fr'ukso's back, both feet hitting where the spine connects to the pelvis.
Fr'uk'so fell forward, his body flattening out with a loud thump. H'lan reached for the Yautja's tresses, grabbing a handful to yank the warrior's head back. Getting a firm grip H'lan looked up at the Matriarch before he twisted his hands, snapping Fr'uk'so's neck.
Cries of outrage rang out in the stadium, those who had supported Fr'uk'so and Mal'ik'so's claims of innocence. Now Mal'ik'so stood alone, looking upon the dead body of his uncle and lifting his eyes to meet those of H'lan. The hatred smoldering there should have killed the human, but he stayed on his feet, breathing deeply as he readied himself for the next fight.
H'lan had a ten minute rest before Mal'ik'so stepped forward to roar his fury at his smaller opponent.
Mal'ik'so did not have his uncle's overconfidence to cloud his judgment, so the younger warrior did not hesitate in selecting a spear as his weapon. H'lan shrugged his shoulders at Gor'chec, having discussed the possibilities that he would not be able to use the same mode of attack in both fights. H'lan chose the other spear and the two were on the platform once more.
Mal'ik'so and H'lan circled each other, shifting their spears and waiting for the other to make the first move.