The Duel

Izkander and Flynn receive a letter handwritten by Barbarossa in a beautiful flowing script apologising that he cannot come to meet them today, as the merchant prince known as the Desert Rose has cut out his tongue. They are both disappointed by the news, and sad for the loss of what is surely one of Barbarossa's great gifts.

It has been a long, emotional day, Steve is hungover and overworked and hungry and drained and has fought with and made up with his business partner. It is sundown, and Steve is thinking of asking Dingo (Emil) if he can postpone the duel again for a second time. The reasons are the same, but they are all worse now than last time.

Emil comes to the tea shop at sundown. The full Coterie has accompanied him, ten or so, in armour, banner and all. They line the street, facing the tea shop. Emil calls into the tent and speaks to Sayeed.

Sayeed says he will find Flynn.

Flynn walks around from the back, pacing long strides past the Coterie, turning sharply.
"Mr Emil, are you ready for our duel?"
They discuss the location.
Flynn pulls out the silver coin he won in the tournament, holds it up and says "Have you a silver for our wager?".
Emil starts counting his copper. Flynn flips his silver coin in the air while he waits. Emil doesn't have enough with him so another of the Coterie lends him a coin. Flynn asks for a neutral third party to take the coins and to dispense them to the winner.

He turns to Emil "Let's go". He strides to the field, Emil and the Coterie follow. Flynn, asks some archers if they would mind a duel conducted next to them. They don't.

The Coterie form a half circle on Emil's side. The duellists discuss judges, looking for an impartial one. Flynn points, arm outstretched, let's have "him, him, and him", first to a Coterie member, then Izkander, then to a Black Arrow Syndicate member, neutral.

It's first to 5 hits, mutuals don't count. The score is 4-1 to Flynn. Emil says "I think you're about to win another silver". He does. He collects his winnings and the duel is done.

There are some other friendly duels and the Coterie slowly disperses. Emil and Flynn talk. They are friends.

On his way back to the tea shop, Flynn comes across Barbarossa, who apologises again for not being able to meet him and Izkander. Flynn says with a kind smirk "Sir I am pleased to see that your tongue is back inside your head."
Barbarossa explains how after yesterday's lesson in manners, he has had a lesson in humility. "If you are going to tell somebody in your audience to please be quiet while you talk, first make sure it is not the Desert Rose".

Flynn is not sure how he feels, but this Desert Rose has certainly piqued his interest. He has seen her on the streets with her entourage and knows she is spectacular and powerful, but he had no idea she was so ruthless.

He wants to meet her.

It occurs to him that if he still wished to see Inigo suffer for shooting him the belly, he could perhaps pose as an assassin to the Desert Rose, saying that Inigo sent him to take revenge for his master's mutilation. Perhaps he could get her to repay the two copper coins Inigo paid to have him taken to be healed. But, he accepted Inigo's apology already, so he leaves the Desert Rose alone for now.