Aurora alighted on the grass in front of her brother, eyeing the swords disdainfully. She disliked the hunks of metal that so many adored; where was the finesse, the skill, in hacking someone's limbs off? There were no ways to spare someone with a sword; an arrow could incapacitate mercifully. They were murderers' weapons.
Still, her brother was right. She should be prepared for any test that they might throw at her. Her clothes, tight against her body, would provide no advantage for any unscrupulous tricks. Her hair, cut short like a true Warrior, was the same. This would be an even match, for what it was worth.
She took a blade, balancing it in her hand. The hilt was wrapped in burnished bronze, the blade a dull gray. It was light, and shorter than the one her brother now brandished at her face.
"We duel," he grinned.
Aurora didn't respond. Instead, she opted to rush at him, blade up. Taking her left hand off the blade to balance, she swung at his torso in a wide, looping arc. Effortlessly, he parried the strike, knocking it away like an annoying insect. Aurora tried to bring the sword back into a defensive position when he planted a boot firmly in her chest. The blow sent her sprawling, the air departing from her lungs. For a moment she lay there, wheezing.
He strode over and peered down at her, watching her pant.
"That's one mark against you, Aurora. Don't get any more."
Hot anger welled up in her chest, and she slashed at his face from the ground. She was woefully short of her mark, but the ferocity in her swing caused him to step back. Seeing an opening, she pushed herself up quickly and assumed a defensive stance; sword at an angle to her body, her body perpendicular to his, offering the smallest target. She transferred the blade to her right hand, pointing at him. Then she lunged.
She had made a mistake. She should not have let him get away from the sudden fear her violence inflicted. In a cool, composed state, she couldn't beat him. She attempted multiple body stabs, all of which were coolly parried away. Yet he didn't strike. She went for his knee, then feinted upwards toward his arm. He blocked then dodged. Yet he still did not strike. Filled with fury, she once more slashed at his face.
With a flourish of his blade, he slid it down the expanse of her sword, twisting it away from his head. He continued downwards until the point pricked her hand. With a flick, he flipped her sword out of her hand and caught it deftly. He let his momentum carry him forward, planting a knee in her chest and kneeling on her, crossing the blades over her neck.
"That's two marks, Aurora. That's a failing grade."
She glared up at him.
"Maybe if you weren't such a swordsman I'd have a chance."
"Maybe if you were more of a swordsman you'd have a chance."
Aurora looked away.