Sand gusted gently. The crowd quieted in taut anticipation.
A moment of tranquillity held the arena.
And in that moment, Bran didn't feel the shield straps tight about his arm, the battered helm forced onto his head, or his sword's grip beneath his palm. Everything focussed on one exhalation, one breath, one tiny huuuh of life.
Magatoria, king's champion, a sword in each of his four hands, his spirit anointed by the blood of uncounted humans, leapt at Bran.
Calm became chaos. Blades danced in veils and ribbons of blood. Life became death.
Bran closed his eyes.
Sweet silence returned.
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