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The weapon known as a duelist's scales takes it's name, perhaps unsurprisingly, from the League custom of duelling. Wielding one of these weapons, a duellist can neutralize almost any advantage his opponent might have in terms of heroic maneuvers, spells or special items - provided he is prepared to give up any such advantage himself. The weapon also sees some use on the battlefield, especially when coupled with a few draughts of feverfail elixir or maledict's medicament.

The Wintermark rune Lann is sometimes engraced on of a duellist's scales, or inset with tempest jade into the pommel. More commonly the weapon is marked with Kyrop, the rune of weakness - which has lead to some cunning Suaq christening those who wield the blades Cold Fish - referencing both the use of the word scales in the common name, and a common term for the rune itself.


The trumpets shrieked a brazen salute, and Lord Percy Firefoot, knight of House Bernicia stepped into the arena to a crashing tide of cheers and applause. Men and women alike threw red roses as the young noble strode forward, his arms raised, flanked by his squires bearing his banner of a cerulean gryphon on a golden field.

Roland stood his ground, doing his best to appear nonchalant. He flicked his eyes towards the stands, to the box where the Earl of Astolat had risen to gently applaud the champion. Lady Isobelle, in whose honour the tourney had been thrown, had both hands on the wall of the box, and Roland could see even from here that her knuckles were white as she clenched the hard wood. She did not look at Roland, her gaze fixed on Lord Firefoot.

It seemed the cheers would go on forever, but they could not have lasted for more than a few minutes at most. As they started to die down, the Earl of Astolat raised one hand, and held it at shoulder height. The crowd fell silent. Roland incongruously wondered what odds were being offered on his victory by the yeoman touts he knew would be somewhere in the hall. His mind was desperately trying not to think of what was about to happen, when the Earl dropped his hand and the duel began.

Roland was suddenly conscious of a presence at his side. A stout woman with gently curling horns and golden eyes had touched his sleeve politely. She wore the colours of the Earl, one of his retainers.

"The Earl wishes you to know that he bears you no personal ill-will, but the terms of the Test were quite clear. Defeat his chosen champion in a contest of arms, on the tourney field. He wishes you to know that it is not too late - you may yield to Sir Percy and retire. Perhaps some lesser House will accept your petition in a few years; but you will not become a noble of House Astolat; and if you persist in this fool's challenge, the dice will fall where they may and you will have nobody else to blame but yourself. And, perhaps, your mother who has filled your head with foolish fancies."

Roland nodded absently, indicating his understanding. The retainer hovered for a moment, and then withdrew. As soon as she was off the field, the Earl dropped his hand.

Immediately Lord Firefoot drew both his vicious battleaxe and his shield. The bright noon sunlight made the pale yellow tempest jade inlaid on the green iron weapon glitter and dance. It caught the orichalcum in the goldenfire chain he wore beneath his azure plate, making it flow like molten honey. The golden runes on the leonine helm flickered and danced. It seemed as if the sun itself had sent down a champion to face him. Roland was painfully aware of his borrowed chain hauberk, his battered shield, the helm that looked more like a bucket than anything designed for war.

He muttered a prayer to Kord, the smith, to inspire him and steel his heart against the fear that sought to overwhelm it and drew the sword the old woman had given to him. The Blade of the Black Gryphon, she had called it. Blackened orichalcum blade set in a battered hilt inlaid with green stone and bound with silvered wire.

As Lord Percy came inexorably onward, confident in his weapon, his armour, his magical helm, Roland stepped up to test whether the Lord Firefoot was really as glorious as the troubadours claimed - or whether there was truth to the rumour that he had become too dependent on his enchanted panoply ...