The battlefield was dusty, making it hard to see. Disorienting shouts came from all around. A projectile flew through the air, just over Rowan’s head. He was alone in this moment, his allies unable to assist him. He scrambled one direction, but enemies awaited him. He whirled around and dashed the other way, but there faced the same doom.
Another projectile flew over his head, causing him to change direction once more. If he could just break through the enemy once, on either side, he could find safety beyond.
Sweat stung his eyes as he made his move. Screams filled the air, his armored feet digging into the ground as he ran. His helmet threatened to both fly off and slide down, but still he sprinted with all his might.
There was determination in his enemy’s eyes. Steel resolve. Intent. It was chilling. Rowan pushed it away and ran past.
This was it, Rowan thought. He made it. He would not fall this day. He succeeded.
He heard a thud, felt an impact on his back. He stumbled forward, the strength in his legs failing immediately. He put his arms out but they crumpled beneath him as he hit the ground. The screaming grew muffled, distant. More dust in his eyes, but he could see his helmet crashing to the ground. He exhaled and rolled onto his back.
Above him stood, not his adversary, but an impartial spirit, masked and clad in black.
“You’re out,” said the umpire.