You can’t simply leave and hope the orders are favorable. But you know Rider won’t back down, and you won’t either.
“I know how we can settle this.”
You lift your staff up and point it at Rider.
“Single combat. First to submit or fall unconscious surrenders, to be taken prisoner. If you have me, there’s no need for an attack; you can address any grievance with me directly. And if we have you, well, your troops are without a commander. I think that more than warrants sending them back, if they don’t run back of their own accord after seeing your defeat.”
Rider raises his lance.
“You could save yourself some time and pain by surrendering now,” he says. “Very well. We’ll fight on the Knob. On foot, unless you care to find and train your own mount. You have ten minutes to prepare, understand?”
“Of course. I’ll be ready.”
You sound confident, but of course, you’ve faced Rider before and you know how fierce he can be. If this fight is going to turn out any different from the last few, you’ll need to come up with something to change the battle in your favor.
Get some extra-heavy-duty armor. It may restrict your movement, but since you’ve never won against him anyway, it may be worth a shot.
The tip of your staff is a thrusting weapon – much like a modified midpike. You prefer to use it as a blugdeoning tool – non lethal. The flint-steel you keep the top covered in creates a great deal of sparking and heat – which partly is why your reputation as a swamp wizard has grown.
Unbeknownst to Captain Long, while Ash was in possession of the staff, he modified it slightly. The tip of the staff has been hollowed out and the inside has been replaced with darkwood – a highly illegal substance banned from both Marshguards and Bogknights. Darkwood is said to “enhance” the innate abilities of one it punctures – but at great expense to their own health and willpower. What or who Commander Ash intended to use the darkwood on, or where he managed to acquire it remains a mystery.