Barrett had watched a few matches involving members of the Raging Fire Sect. Their combat techniques were nothing special- weapons of a certain type all worked basically the same way. The thing separating them from other berserkers was of course the fire aspect. Berserkers relied upon strong emotions- usually anger- to draw power. The Raging Fire Sect literally turned the fires of their emotions into flames that wreathed their bodies. Barrett didn’t know the details of the technique, but there were some obvious effects.
The scorching heat surrounded them and their weapons at their will. When they slashed at an opponent with an axe or sword, fire went with it. Blocking or even dodging became less effective as the heat still singed clothes and heated weapons and armor. Barrett had no doubt there would be greater effects by those more experienced.
Barrett’s opponent was placed in the fourth round directly, just the same as Barrett. That meant they were both around early second tier- though Barrett thought his opponent was a bit older, perhaps nineteen or twenty.
“May the best man win,” Barrett greeted his opponent as they both stepped on one of the arenas for their match. His opponent grunted in response. It wasn’t enthusiastic, but Barrett supposed gruff acknowledgement was better than no response at all.
His opponent carried a halberd and- similar to other members of the Raging Fire Sect- wore lighter armor on his arms and legs. It appeared to be some sort of leather, continuing from under their standard metal breastplate. Now that he was up close to the battle, Barrett saw that the same leather was used as a grip on the halberd’s shaft.
When the match started, Barrett’s opponent immediately surrounded himself in the aura of fire and thrust his halberd toward Barrett’s chest. Quick, decisive, and straightforward- Barrett admired those traits, but he wasn’t so much of a fan of them leading to him being impaled. He twisted to the side and the halberd scraped almost harmlessly against his breastplate… but Barrett could feel the heat. It reminded him of very unpleasant circumstances.
As Barrett moved forward his opponent took a step back, making it difficult for Barrett to get in striking range and keeping his own optimum range. This forced Barrett to dodge a few more attacks before he got a chance to move in. He could already feel himself sweating after only a few moments of exertion, and his armor was starting to get very uncomfortable.
His opponent finally extended just a little bit further than he should have and Barrett dodged more forward than to the side, bringing himself inside his opponent’s range. Barrett’s axe came across and struck his opponent’s breastplate… causing a ringing sound and sending his opponent hurtling back and to the side, tumbling a few times before finally stopping on his knees, propping himself up with his halberd.
Barrett was already moving forward for the next attack, but the young man just shook his head, “I surrender.” He clutched his side which was slightly stained with blood and walked off of the arena.
“Victory goes to Barrett Ravenhall of the Immortal Berserker Sect!” the judged announced.
While Barrett found it somewhat anticlimactic, all that it meant was that he’d found a good opening. Perhaps his own placement had slightly underestimated him, or his opponent had an off day. It didn’t mean that Barrett would always easily crush him, and Barrett could see he could have continued to fight- if he needed to. Today just happened to be in Barrett’s favor.
Reina came to find him as he walked off the arena, “Congratulations on your win!”
“Thank you.” Barrett smiled. She hadn’t said anything special, but from someone he cared about the words meant more than from others.
Barrett sat in the stands, in a section reserved for competitors. They weren’t the most in front, but there were various locations he could move to depending on which arena he wanted to watch. Mistress Seviren had purchased seats at the front, but Barrett was actually closer a few rows back on the other side of the entire area, as Reina was fighting in one of the arenas toward the ‘back’.
Reina found herself facing against a wizard- one from Storm Tower. That battle also started off quickly. Reina dashed forward with her sword drawn, and her opponent thrust his arms down, creating a large ring of ice on the ground. Then he pushed right when Reina was over the ice, and strong sudden winds blew her back and away- though she kept her balance and stayed on her feet. Even so, it delayed her long enough for the wizard to gather up energy for another spell, launching a small bolt of lightning at her. She swayed to the side, just barely avoiding the spell. Barrett knew how difficult that was considering the speed- near instantaneous once it was targeted. Of course, he also had more issues because his metal armor would attract it.
Reina rushed forward once again, seemingly having no regard for the ice. Her feet barely touched the ground during her long, quick strides, and she appeared to be almost floating- and sometimes she actually was.
Barrett expected a spray of fire, but that would be Lamont’s response. He was a general elementalist, while Storm Tower… well, the name of their school said everything. Thus, instead of a spray of fire a hail of small icicles was launched at Reina. Turning on ice was a difficult task, but Barrett saw Reina twirl around to the side with a quick step- and the ice also seemed to curve around her. No, it probably had, since she used wind magic as part of her fighting style.
Reina was now standing to face the wizard from the side, and her sword swung up toward his neck. There was a cracking sound as a hastily summoned barrier was formed and then destroyed, and then all motion and sound stopped. Reina’s sword rested gently against the wizard’s throat as she stood still on the ice, not having slid an inch from where she planted her feet.
“Uh, I… surrender.” As the wizard said that, Reina withdrew her sword. The wizard reached to his throat to feel it, looking at his fingers in confusion. He had expected blood, but Reina had enough control to merely make him feel the sharpness of her blade. Barrett was actually as impressed by that and her stopping on the ice as much as the elegant dodging.
“Congratulations to you as well.” Barrett said after the match.
Mistress Seviren nodded, “That was very elegantly handled.”
Reina bowed, “Thank you, Mistress… Barrett.” There had been a few times since they met again where she had accidentally called Barrett ‘young master’ out of habit. While Barrett didn’t mind that, the title didn’t exactly fit anymore- and she didn’t work for him even if he could claim a noble title still.
Mistress Seviren continued, “Though both of you did exceptionally well, know that subsequent battles will be more difficult. Even so, I expect Reina to continue for at least two more rounds… and I’m sure Master Hykel would say the same for you, Barrett. Please, do your best.”