It was a lucky thing to have an opening, but a split-second advantage was useless in the wrong hands. Options flickered through Favian's mind—should he throw another punch? A knee? No and no: neither one would have the momentum to stop a tackle. The safer course would be to throw his weight forward and counter the tackle with a sprawl, turning the fight into another grueling pushing match. Both knights would have ample opportunity to use their daggers then, and Favian was confident he could at least hold onto his lead until the marshal called a halt to the match.
But was that really what he wanted?
His mind, cool and rational, knew that this was far from a true battlefield. Yet in the thick of the fight, his warrior's heart had awakened, and now it roared in his veins, thundering through his skull in a deafening war cry. He did not jockey for points, God-damn it! He did not fight to be ruled the winner on a technicality! Tourney or no, he would not settle for being handed petty glories—he was Sir Favian Procell, the Storm Knight, and he would take this victory with his own two hands.
Sir Aslain surged forwards for the tackle, and Favian welcomed him with all his might. His body twisted clockwise, and his left arm lunged downwards, wrapping around the lion knight's helm in a tight headlock. Then both his feet kicked off the ground, and he was throwing himself backwards, pulling Aslain along with him, an ungainly mass of man and steel splashing together against the muddy grass.
I can't beat him in strength. And he's every bit as skilled as I. That left only one recourse: the mad, the unexpected. Rather than resist the tackle or try to land a counter before it happened, he allowed himself to fall, and used his own strength to bring Aslain along for the ride. Rather than landing with Favian on his back and Aslain positioned to easily stab or mount him, they'd end up pressed together, with Aslain's head held tight against Favian's breastplate and his chest squashed against the storm knight's lower torso.
Based on the course of his tackle, both of Aslain's arms would be at the level of Favian's waist or hips. If Favian had been quick and lucky enough to catch him at the right moment, he might even have managed to trap Aslain's dagger hand by squashing it between them before he could properly line up the strike. Favian knew better than to underestimate his opponent, however, and was prepared for the worst. A knife to the gut? A man can survive that, at least for a time. In a true battle, he'd have risked the same sacrifice.
The fall had nearly knocked the wind out of him. His armor mitigated some of the impact, and the ground was not hard, but even so it was enough to drive a sharp breath of air through his tightly clenched teeth. His body, though, it knew what to do. His left arm lower down for the tackle, his right arm aimed to run me through the intestines. Now was the moment, perhaps the best and only chance he would get.
Held in his right hand, Favian's blunted dagger slammed down upon the back of Sir Aslain's neck, striking right beneath the base of his helm.
A knife to the spine? Dead before he can take a breath.
Let the judges score that one as they would.