THE TWO BOYS circled one another like a pair of wolves—hackles up, muscles taut, eyes searching one another for weaknesses.
The older warriors wanted to see a fight—a nasty kick, gouge, and wing slap fight.
“With one of us, 'er the two a yous!” the boys were told.
Whichever way it happened, the boys knew the end result was going to be the same. One of them was going to get mauled to satisfy the savagery. The other would have drinks bought for him, a decent meal, and the good will of everyone who bet on him. Sometimes he might even get a share of the winnings, which included a turn at the loser.
If he fought a good fight, he might even get firsts at him—if he wasn’t hurt too badly to take advantage of the prize. A good fight, in these veteran’s eyes, meant one or both combatants hospitalized, but that would be after the older warriors had their fun.
The boys, surrounded by nearly twenty mean, drunken, seasoned warriors knew there was no backing out. Bets had been placed and there would be blood.
The older boy snapped out his name and his experience as he circled the younger, his voice barely audible above the screams around them.
“Andi Vor. Sixteen standard, six months in. You?”
The smaller boy answered as tersely. His eyes never moved from his opponent's as he circled him, seeking an advantage against the other's size.
“Varis Jer. Fourteen standard, three months in.”
The two continued to move around one another as they talked. Their wings were not open, but there was a definite threat of it in the small, fluttering ripples that ran over them.
Varis knew if he let the bigger boy get his wings open first he would be at a disadvantage. There were few counter attacks against full wings open. The only one Varis knew well was a drop, roll, and kick for the legs. This would pull the opponent down, but it could also do some real damage to his own closed wings. Opening those wings in the roll wasn’t an option.