Luke worked hard at his training, and came to respect the gruff swordsman he trained under almost daily, now he was used to the physical exertion. However, Powys also tried to improve Luke's understanding of how to defeat an opponent.
'Always remember, lad," Powys had said, "No-one's a perfect swordsman. They all have their weaknesses. It's up to you to find them and exploit them."
And so Luke often found himself trying to spot the flaw that Powys had incorporated into his swordplay before he was worn down by the knight's dogged resentlessness. Sometimes a slightly loose grip on the sword, enabling an easy disarm, or overbalancing on a long thrust, making a heavy blow liable to knock him down: all these and more were used to test Luke, and he overcame them all. Soon, he even discovered some of the underlying flaws in Powys' own swordplay, prompting Powys to start pointing out the more obvious weaknesses with Luke's.
Ursalis regularly taunted Powys, and one day Luke had had enough of the cocky swaggerer. He had seen that Ursalis spent little time training hard and decided to teach him a lesson.
He went to the clerk of the Bladesmasters acadamy.
"I would like to lay down a challenge to one of my fellow students."
"Your name and his?" asked the clerk.
"My name is Luke Rhyffawr, and his is Magnus Ursalis."
"In that case, your challenge will be delivered today."
Luke went to his training session smiling. Powys took his grin for eagerness and pushed him to exhaustion. As Ursalis walked past, he stopped to hurl his customary collection of abuse at Powys. Luke just watched as the clerk walked up behind him.
"What, you puny waste of flesh?!" Ursalis roared at the clerk, as his friends sniggered.
"You have an official challenge to a sword duel" stated the clerk.
Ursalis froze. "Who...who from?"
Ursalislaughed. "Never heard of him! Some rookie obviously wants to make a name for himself!"
Luke strolled over and tapped him on the shoulder. "Did I hear my name?"
Ursalis turned to see the well built youth, still with the light of combat in his eyes from his training, a wry grin on his face, nonchalantly swinging his longsword.
"You're this Luke bloke?" asked Ursalis, eyes slightly wide now.
"Yes I am. So, what say you?"
Ursalis was caught. He could not afford to back down in front of his friends, yet the youth standing before him looked dangerous. Luke smiled at the consternation on his foe's face.
Ursalis eventually came to a decision. "I accept" he said.
Luke smiled in the setting sun.