This time Edaran turned around to meet her, bringing his sword around, but she blocked it.
            Now she went for his head, which Edaran blocked too. After another jab, Edaran brought his sword around again for a strong attack at her side. She easily dodged both and thwacked him on the forehead.
            Edaran grunted but held his guard, refusing to get angry.
            He could not be beaten by a girl, it was unspeakable. He managed to parry two strikes and counter, but she avoided it again.
            She was so graceful, the way she moved about him was like watching an actual dancer and it went perfectly with her attacks. He could hardly believe that she was only twelve when she fought so well.
            Edaran knew he’d have to apply more thought. He watched her go, trying to understand how she worked. The old man spoke of patterns. Maybe that could apply to fighting too?
            It took several more bruises worth of hits on him before he finally figured out her movement. He expected her to try and go round him, so he held out his leg and she tripped over it, falling to the floor.
            The girl turned over, leaning on her elbows as she looked up at him.
            “That was not an honourable way to win a fight!” She yelled.
            “Maybe not, but it certainly won me the fight.” He argued, blowing a raspberry.
            “You are no knight.” She tried to get up. Edaran held out his hand to help her. She scowled at it, but accepted it.
            “What is your name?” He asked. She dusted herself off and picked up her real sword. “Mine is Edaran—“
            “—I know who you are, everyone in the castle does.” In frustration, she swung at the dummy and sliced off its head. “I am Clara, youngest child of Damyen.” She explained. “It’s stupid, father decided at the last moment to take my dumb sister with him, but not me!” She hacked off the dummy’s arm.
            There was a clap behind them.
            “Congratulations Edaran, you were nearly beaten up by a girl.” The voice came. He knew who it was without looking. The grizzled old Sergeant with the severely broken nose and the rough voice as the barking of a wolf walked towards the pair. “Whatever does your Sergeant teach you in that small little town of yours?”
            “My tutor was a good swordsman.” A corner of his mouth fell.
            “Oh, but you are now?” He snorted a laugh then. “Well on that we can agree.” The man grabbed a sword and looked at Edaran. “Let me test your incompetence then.”
            It was brutal. His new teacher gave him more and bigger bruises than Clara, and when he tried to block, the impact would jar and he would drop his sword, at which point his teacher would give him a crushing blow to the skull for dropping it.
            At some point, Clara had left, though he had heard her laughing for the first few hits, probably in retaliation. By the end, Edaran was almost in tears, both because of the last smash to the head and the frustration that he felt, as at no point had the man tried to teach him any techniques, like his old Sergeant used to do. This one just cruelly beat him about.

The End

31 comments about this story Feed