When he wasn't watching Erik in the forge, Riovynn began to spend increasing amounts of time watching various rebels train at the fighting grounds. He had never seen Zane and Layla train, which had led him to believe that there was a separate private training room. He would have to find it, it would be useful in Tanya's training.
He had watched numerous "friendly battles" between competing rebels and couldn't help but notice how far they went. They gave each other injuries ,although most were minor, and they really seemed to try and kill each other.
Riovynn usually refused any invitations to join in the fighting, more because he was afraid of going too far and less that he was concerned he'd lose. However, one day, an unfortunate rebel decided to call Riovynn out. And if there was one thing Riovynn didn't abide, it was other people questioning his skill and ability.
"Why don't you want to fight newcomer? Are you intimidated?"
"No one in this room intimidates me."
"Oh? Then why don't you join us?"
"I already told you. Because no one in this room intimidates me. If I'm going to kill someone, I'd prefer it to be a challenge."
The challenger looked around, "I say he's frightened! You know what I heard? When he was brought in, he hadn't killed a single one of the riders attacking him and his sister! She did all the work, dropped about half of 'em she did. He's probably afraid to be shown up by a-"
Riovynn's hands dropped to his new blades. They had yet to be broken in, but Riovynn wanted that occasion to be more auspicious.
"Somebody give me a knife."
"Yes!" crowed the young man as Riovynn received a knife and climbed into the small ring.
"I will give you one chance to live." said Riovynn.
The young man snorted and made the first move.
Riovynn deftly knocked the man's blade aside and kneed him in the gut. The man doubled over, but didn't fall to the ground. He attacked Riovynn again, and this time Riovynn' parried with a twist that spun the man's blade out of his hand, and into Riovynn's. Riovynn turned away in disgust and threw the man's sword at his feet.
The young challenger then made his final mistake. He picked up his weapon and charged at Riovynn's unprotected back. Years of training had programmed Riovynn's reflexes to do one thing when he heard footsteps running at him from behind.
He turned and threw the knife at rebel instinctively, then tried to grab it back a second after it left his hand.
But it was too late. The knife was already lodged in its victim's chest.
The grounds had gone silent.
Onlookers began to shift uneasily and place hands on their weapons. A few started to approach Riovynn, and he reached for his daggers as well. He tensed, and was about to strike when a familiar voice cut through everything.
"What is going on he-"
Jasper stepped out and looked at the body on the floor.
"Doesn't surprise me. Who was it?"
Nearly every face turned to Riovynn, but he stood tall and refused to back down before Jasper.
"Durn... doesn't surprise me either. Come with me. I'm taking you to Ceri."
"And if I refuse?"
"Then I will order every man in here to attack you. Now come."
Riovynn calculated the odds and decided that they weren't favorable enough to risk anything, so he followed Jasper away from the ring and through the Rebel Maze. When they finally came to Ceri's cave, Jasper went in briefly and came out seconds later with six guards behind him. He ordered them to watch Riovynn and then he disappeared once more into the cave.
Riovynn didn't think it prudent to tell Jasper that he could take six easily.
If he wants to underestimate me, then let him. It might come in handy later.
After ten or so minutes, Jasper appeared once again and bade Riovynn to follow. He was led through the tunnels until they came to Ceri's chamber. Jasper gestured inside with a smirk and closed the door behind Riovynn after he entered.
"The rebel army is small enough Durn. Killing even the most obstinate of fighters is a detriment to our survival. I cannot allow it."
"Understood. But you should know that-"
"That Luer annoyed to the point of snapping? Yes. I know. Everyone does. But I cannot allow that to become an excuse. Too many would see it as permission. I am sorry."
"You shouldn't be." said Riovynn, playing his part. "It own't happen again."
"I do hope so Durn. You are too much of an asset. I would hate to see you executed."
So would I Thought Riovynn. But my execution is more likely to come from the Emperor than from any of the amateurs in this camp.
Riovynn simply nodded, not trusting himself to speak.
Ceri returned the nod, "You may go."
As Riovynn left he found himself hoping that Jasper would still be waiting outside of Ceri's chamber. He wouldn't have minded sealing his execution right then and there.
But sadly, Riovynn was disappointed.