Moment Held and Lost

The lights shone bright, just for Jerald. The announcer went through the preamble, conditions and historical reference, as he had instructed. When the moment arrived, the crowd cheered, just for him.

This was his moment.

Clad in a simple but authentic uniform, his opponent stood across the designated space, a sand-covered circle, shoulder drooped and pale face a mask of stoic resignation. For the first time, Jerald felt genuine respect for what this man was doing, the payout for this fight going to his family. Respect or no, he still intended to cleave the man in two.

A moment of silence. An audible hush in the audience. A gong sounded in stately fashion.

Jerald drew a sharp breath, drew, covered the distance in three graceful steps and executed his stroke. In a clang and flurry of sand, his foe deflected the swing, ducked, and spun away around the perimeter of the circle.

A wicked smile on thin lips and a new, clean cut in the side of his own montsuki told Jerald everything he needed to know.

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