Wavren walked through the marksmanship course and observed the lay of land and the targets he would have to engage. There were three lanes of events. The first was an accuracy lane where long-range marksmanship was measured. The objective of that lane was to score points by hitting ten successively distant targets until the hunter failed to hit a target, which would terminate the event. The second was a timed event in which the hunter must hit ten moving targets with ten arrows in ten seconds (the turn of a small hourglass). The last was a shoot on the move event, where the hunter was tasked to fire off ten arrows at various targets to his left and right in twenty seconds while running at a full sprint!
Wavren knew he would perform well here. He was, after all, a master of the elven longbow as well as the more conventional composite bow, but so were many of his peers. Wavren was first in line and he knew he would set the bar quite high. He approached the accuracy lane and took a deep breath. As he let it out, he felt the wind gently blowing to the southeast. He tested the taut pull of the bowstring and selected a finely crafted elven arrow. His first shot was a mere ten strides away. He hit dead center. The second shot was again ten strides beyond the first. He sunk the arrow deeply in the center as well. This process continued until he was using great elevation and windage to compensate for the range. Out of ten stationary targets, he hit all ten dead center, but so did three of the fourteen other hunters. It was a testament to the archery heritage in the elven community.
The moving target lane was much more difficult. On the command “fire,”Wavren took his longbow and fired arrow after arrow into the moving targets that were no more than the size of an orc’s head. In the blink of an eye, he had hit all ten perfectly. This time only two out of the fourteen of his peers matched his skill. One was a male who had excelled with the survival tasks, but had no affinity with any animals. He would have made a fine scout. The other was a female who seemed to be Wavren’s equal in all events up to this point. He was keeping his eye on her to track her progress.
The final event, the shoot on the move lane, was tough because it was timed. The hunter’s aim was jostled by each step, and the targets moved up and down quickly. Wavren centered himself and nodded for the event to begin. Daenek Torren was watching the competition closely and this made Wavren want to excel all the more. The course began and Wavren took off down the lane in a flash. The first target popped up on the right almost as he passed it, such was Wavren’s foot speed, but he angled and fired hitting it squarely. The second was immediately to the left and he turned and hit it too. There were three that came up simultaneously and Wavren hit the first, and drew two arrows at once, and hit the last two before they went down. The next one was at a bad angle behind a tree, but Wavren banked his arrow off the tree bark and hit it too. There were two side-by-side, spinning like a top, and Wavren had to take a moment to time those two shots, which cost him a few strides, but he was almost at the end. The last two targets were barely the size of an elf’s fist and they came up and went down in less than two seconds, but they went down with two arrows embe dded in them nonetheless. Wavren had mastered the entire marksmanship course and he had done it in record time. This time only one hunter had matched his perfect hit record, the slender she-elf who Wavren discovered was named Galaa.
Just for curiosity, Daenek declared a rematch of the last event between Wavren and Galaa. There was a catch however. Daenek set the hunters on the lane at the same time to see who would get each shot off first and knock the target down, leaving no target to hit for the slower marksman. Wavren took full measure of his competition and restocked his quiver. The aged hunter gave the signal and the two were off.
Just as before, the first target was set to pop up almost behind the runners, but Wavren poured on the speed anyway, easily taking the lead. When the first target popped up, Galaa was almost to it and Wavren was actually past it. Both fired and Galaa’s shot hit the front just as Wavren fired blindly and backwards, hitting it from the back, which knocked Galaa’s arrow out of the target! The crowd cheered.
Both turned to the left and hit the second simultaneously. Wavren drew two arrows for the set of three targets that came up simultaneously and fired just as Galaa fired. Both hit the first two, but Galaa had drawn and fired three arrows, an incredible feat even for elven archers. Wavren never got his last shot off. The score was tied again.
Wavren was in a good position, well in front of Galaa, for the angled shot behind the tree, but somehow Galaa managed to hit the target before it went down with Wavren’s arrow in it. The two spinning targets were going to be tough. Wavren drew and fired as Galaa fired. Both hit one target each and both missed the follow on shot. The last two small targets were suddenly up and Wavren pulled back his bow to try an impossible two-arrow split. Just then, an arrow whizzed past and cut his bow string. A smiling Galaa stood ready with her last arrow nocked and ready to fire. Wavren was furious, but knew she had outsmarted him. He had arrows left, but no way to shoot them. The she-elf huntress released her arrow and was confident she would hit the mark when a flash of silver intercepted the shot and sent her arrow off course. The crowd cheered as Wavren stood confidently with arms crossed, an empty dagger sheath, and his fine elven dagger protruding from the small target. Both ran across the finish line with an equal number of arrow hits and Wavren scoring an additional, unprecedented dagger hit. The day was won and Wavren congratulated his female counterpart, who was not at all pleased with the outcome. Daenek awarded them both with praise and promised to record this event in the great History Book of Celes’tia.