Emperor Azrion stood before the High Clanlord, his small honor guard dwarfed on all sides by the thousands of Draken curious to behold the shiny visitors from the stars.
Zhur sat, contemptuously regarding them. He had ceased listening to their empty genuflections long ago. He felt no respect for these soft hornless maggots in their bright hard shells and weapons that killed from afar.
Just as he was just opening his mouth to order the slaughter of these insolent trespassers, Azrion's voice rang out, echoing across the vast plain in the Drakens' age-old tongue: "By the sacred ways of Mikros, I, Azrion, son of Dominus the Half-Blood, challenge you, Clanlord Zhur, here and now for command of both our races, and all the lives they comprise."
Grunts of outrage and barks of laughter rippled throughout the throng, reaching Zhur's ears as a steady patter of barely suppressed bloodlust.
As judging from his fluency in the One Tongue the invader was doubtless aware, his challenge meant combat to the death. But Zhur sensed no fear, only tightly coiled certainty. His poise was as flawless as any foe that Zhur had ever faced, and he had slain many.
"By the old ways let it be done," Zhur rumbled.
Zhur himself led the way to the Fields of Kazor. Each stripped to the waist and was given a blade forged in the fires of Mount Crucible. Their gazes locked. A hush fell over the massive arena. Zhur licked his lip, tasting the familiar coppery tang of glory to come.
Then he launched forward, swinging.