It made him angry, to remember what happened, so instead of going to the hall to eat, he went to the training grounds.
            Once there, he picked up a wooden sword he had gotten used to and stared at the dummy. It was not difficult to imagine the Lord in its place. Both were thin, both were ugly and both were asking for Edaran to strike him. He held the sword up and smacked the thing.
            Once, twice, thrice he whacked it on the head, a leg, he jabbed at the torso, wishing it were a real sword and that this was the real person.
            He spent so long working up such a sweat he had not noticed somebody else had entered the courtyard.
            A young girl stood looking in, her hair that odd blonde colour as the lord’s, her eyes that deep brown. She was quite grubby herself, as if she had been at play for some time.
            “Still playing with wooden toys?” she sneered, and hopped down to his level. “I’ve been using real steel for a year.” She stuck her tongue out at him and walked behind him. Edaran span round.
            “Using—real steel—what?” What was she talking about? He wondered.
            “That’s right, I was tired of seeing my older brothers fighting each other, I wanted to join in, so I got Damyen to help me.” Her eyes fell then. They flicked back up after a moment however. “Now he’s gone, and one day, I will find his killer and—“ Edaran had not noticed she held a sword, so entranced by the meaning of her words, but now she stabbed at the dummy, piercing the sack cloth and spilling straw out of the other end.
            “You—fight?” He had never even seen Dalaena pick up a sword, let alone hit a dummy with one.
            “I do. Care to fight me?” He stared dubiously at the steel and she let out a chortle. “I will use a wooden one silly.” She shook her head as Edaran smiled.
            “Sure, I’ll fight you, as long as you don’t cry when I beat you!” This time he stuck his tongue out at her.
            “Oh I very much doubt that. I am twelve and you are what, nine?” She leaned against the dummy.
            “Ten, actually, and you’re a girl, so we should knock about three years off you.” She was just a little taller than Edaran, but skinnier too.
            “Well let’s fight and find out.” She placed her sword on the floor and went to take a wooden one from a rack just off to the side. Once done, she swung it about to get used to it, and took a stance a few yards from him. Edaran took up a stance of his own, a little similar to hers.
            “First one to fall on the floor or give up loses, yes?” She checked and Edaran nodded in agreement.
            She came at him. When Edaran went to jab, she span around the sword and skipped behind him, hitting him on the back of the leg. He turned around but she was already around him again, hitting him on the back of the other leg.

The End

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