#fridayflash: bizarre love triangle

Woodcut frontispiece of Alexander Barclay, Lyfe of Seynt George (Westminster, 1515).

Welcome back, and what an epic we're getting to watch today! The first half was Team Dragon all the way, from the daring snatch-and-grab of the princess from the Knight's own end, to the relentless pursuit by Team Knight, all the way back to the Dragon's own zone. The horn sounded with the Dragon still defending the prize, but the Knight has changed his steed line-up during the break, and he's thundering down the pitch. He definitely hasn't given up yet.

And there's the lance! The Dragon took to the air to dodge it, leaving the princess exposed, if only for a split second. Team Knight had a chance there, but unfortunately they had to retrieve their lance from the pitch. The Knight's pulled his steed back a few paces. Look at that grim determination! Under the helm it's all knitted brows and steely glares. The incredible focus of the consummate professional.

Augh! That was close! The Dragon used that moment of hesitation from Team Knight to volley over some fireballs, but the Knight directed the steed to canter sideways. Team Knight is at a distinct disadvantage. They made no gains in the first half, and with the clock ticking, there's no sign of the Dragon giving up the superior position. The Dragon has the princess completely defended. No play by the Knight is getting by, and the Dragon doesn't have a scale out of place. If the Knight doesn't come up with something soon, this second half is just going to be a slow march to the final sound of the horn.

But wait! Team Knight just attempted a suicidally brave flanking manoeuvre, charging full gallop at the Dragon's right side! The Dragon's swung his long neck about to bite off an appendage from either Knight or steed, and... this is incredible! The Dragon only knocked the Knight's sword out of his hand! He didn't complete the defence!

The Dragon's turned to put himself between the Knight and the princess, but — yes! Yes! The tide has turned! The Knight has taken advantage of the Dragon's split-second move to reposition himself, and delivered a lance blow right through the Dragon's neck! This could well be the fatal moment for the Dragon. There's still time left on the clock, but suddenly it doesn't look good at all for the side that led the first half.

And now — wait — I, uh — something unusual is happening on the pitch. Team Knight is keeping steady pressure on that lance skewering move, but there is movement behind the Knight and steed that shouldn't be — there may be a bystander on the pitch. If there's a bystander on the pitch, there may be an interruption, and if there's an interruption at this crucial moment, tables may turn again.

It may be — no! The Knight's steed has fallen onto the pitch! It's difficult to say from this angle what actually happened, but it appears that the steed was suddenly lamed. It may be a hamstring injury, which is common enough at this level of combat, but it's unusual for it to come on while the steed is standing still. Could it be the steed is faking an injury to further damage the Dragon side? We can't rule it out, but it seems like an unusual play to make when the Dragon is already down, especially since it caused the Knight to fall as well. The Dragon's lost a lot of blood now, the pitch is becoming quite slippery, so it's possible also that the steed simply lost his footing and....

Oh. Oh, that's very unusual.

The princess has picked up the Knight's sword, and, judging from the fresh blood dripping from it, it was she who just lamed the steed. She's now approaching the Knight! I'm not sure how much of this is by the rules, but —

Oh. I, um — the princess has just sliced the Knight's head mostly off, and with one blow too. There's been much debate as to whether wearing heavy robes and doing needlework all day had isometric benefits, and perhaps we're getting our answer now. Still, although there are still eighteen minutes left on the clock, it looks like enough rules have been broken that a forfeit is inevitable, and —

Oh.

The princess has just stabbed the Dragon through the — I believe it's the, yes, it's his left eye — with the sword. The Dragon has fallen to the pitch. The Dragon isn't moving.

The Knight and the steed aren't moving either. I'm not sure what this means in terms of game resolution, certainly there are no rules about the princess having agency, but —

Oh.

The princess is leaving the pitch. She still has the sword.