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Copyright © 2011 by Toni Allen. All rights reserved.
It was Tark’s first battle. A light breeze blew across the plains of Alsheba, bringing with it the smell of summer grass burning on campfires. A flash of light caught Tark in the eye and he turned in his saddle to see a young warrior seated in front of a tent polishing his sword. The blade glinted again. Tark thought the man looked much older than his own sixteen years, and a far more able warrior judging by the dexterity with which he handled his steel. He struggled to brush the comparison away, then urged his horse forward to come along side his cousin, Dimitri.
Tark had never seen Dimitri Diatronis in full battle garb before, and although it was a new aspect to his life long companion, he thought Dimitri looked a fine and natural warrior in his bronze breastplate emblazoned with a vibrant orange bird. Tark admired his cousin’s cool authority over the situation, the way he rode proud and looked the part, booted feet firmly in his stirrups, leg shields strapped tightly over white trousers and a fine split armoured skirt resting lightly on his thighs to protect his loins. The colours suited his fair complexion, and against the gleaming white under-shirt his blonde hair glowed and his blue eyes twinkled like two clear skies on a hot Alsheban day. By comparison his own clothes were ill fitting, too large and bulky, and even the colour of his yellow bird did nothing to set off his dark eyes and hair and make him look impressive. Warriors were made of bigger stuff. He was certain of that because he found the sword he’d been given far too heavy. No, there was nothing about his demeanour that even gave the pretence of being a skilled fighter.