"Touche!" I shouted triumphantly. Heather shook her head.
"No matter how many time you use that maneuver, I never see it coming!" She pushed the tip of my practice sword away from her collar.
"Let's try it again!" She insisted, dropping to a ready position. I shook my head and rolled my shoulders, trying to loosen up from the hours of fencing I had already done. I took my fighting stance.
"En garde" She said quietly.
"Allez!" I shouted, lunging with my sword. Heather blocked it and circled around my position, I pivoted to keep her in sight.She lunged, I blocked and stepped back a pace. This continued and we shuffled around the practice arena until it seemed the soft sand had filled my boots. I paused for a moment to try to shake it out, but Heather was merciless.
"Touche!" She shouted, the tip of her sword pressed lightly to my shoulder. I raised my hands in defeat.
"Alright you win, but only because the desert has invaded my boots!" I took off my left book and held it in the air, upside-down so the sand would come out. A small amount trickled out of the shoe. My shoulders slumped and Heather stifled a giggle. I glared for a second, then smiled.
"That's enough training for today! We've been at this for hours!" I stuck my sword point first in the sand and walked over to the edge of the arena. My jacket was waiting there, slung across a fence post, where I had left it earlier in the morning. The jacket was a little too warm from the sun, but I would need it in the cool castle. I shrugged into it, ignoring the heat.
"It's time to go visit my father, the physician said his condition was getting worse." I said.Heather walked up, her face somber.
"Long live the King." She intoned. I nodded and jogged into the castle.
The Castle was extravagant to say the least. My ancestors had spared no expense when they paid the dwarves to build it. For such a short people they thought tall! The castle looked like a giant triangle from the air, with the three sides meeting with tall stone towers. The center area was used for weapons and horse training, as well as the castles water supply and some cooking areas out side of the kitchens in the lower part of the Northwest Tower. I was in the eastern wing, headed for the North Eastern Tower, the King's quarters. My own residence was in the upper part of the Northwest Tower.
Because the castle's size, it takes a considerable amount of stamina just to get to the Northwestern Tower from the courtyard: Three sets of stairs to get to the wing, a left turn into the wing, a long walk down the hall then a set of fancy stairs before you get to an imposing wooden door.
I was just about to knock on that door when it opened suddenly, revealing a very pale and nervous looking man: The court Physician.
"What's the matter?" I asked him. The man bowed, muttering a greeting.
"I'm afraid sire, that your father has taken a bad turn. There's nothing more I can do for him... He's dying sire." The Physician spoke in a small voice, as if trying to make the news less terrible. My face felt hot, I felt my forehead fold in on itself as I frowned. Those blasted Dragons. First my mother and my sister... now my father too. I fumed, pushing past the Physician to my fathers chambers.
The King was a powerful looking man, before his sickness. He had sleek black hair, and piercing eyes, he always dressed extravagantly, to impress. He had a feirce sense of determination, and an equally fierce hatred for the monsters that roamed the skies. But he always did his best for the people. And now this cursed sickness had brought him down to a shell.I ran to the pall thin man who had once been so powerful, laying in the large bed.
"Father!" I nearly shouted the word. The dying king looked at me, eyes filled with... something, I couldn't tell, anger maybe? regret?
"Jason." He spoke my name quietly, I could barely make it out. "Continue my legacy. Keep the people safe from..." The words became so quiet I had to strain to hear them. "those monsters!" Despite the low volume the words still held as much venom and hatred as anything a healthy man could utter. I nodded. The king closed his eyes, and with a final shudder, the life went out of him. I stood, i could feel the dark look on my face. I would rid this world of the dragons, if it was the last thing I ever did.