Chapter III: Lady Evil
A thin snow started to fall, flakes frolicking in the air, as the sunset took a blueish hue, a sign of the cold times to come. To survive a winter in London, one had to be very tough... or British. Rebecca didn't feel the cold. Not only had she lived in London her whole life, she was also wearing a magic suit that kept her protected from the chill winds.
Staring at the sun, keeping herself straight and tensed in the middle of the rooftop she used as a practice ground, she raised her sword slowly, inhaled deeply, and exhaled in a burst as her arm waved gracefully to slash through the falling snowflakes. She turned around, slashed sideways, performed a perfect parry, then turned the blade around her wrist and thrust behind her. She kept fighting against snowflakes, twirling around like a dancer, her stances, her parries, the way she held the sword, everything, each of her movements, was calculated and carefully rehearsed. On moments like this, she would surprise herself thinking back about her fight with Nigel Moorcock, how easily he had defeated her, she who back then was waving her sword around with the grace of a toddler learning to walk. A few weeks had passed, and now she was completely different. Trained. Confident. She had spent hours on that rooftop, learning to tame the armour's power, to control her newfound abilities.
And hours reading books on swordsmanship. That's where she learned that her weapon, a double-edged blade that was about thirty inches long and engraved with ancient motifs that seemed to be in both Celtic and Latin, was a slight variation of a Roman sword called a "spatha", and it was meant to be used with one arm. She got the theory right but the practice had been a little awkward for the first few hours. Eventually, though, she had learned to use her shoulder, elbow and wrist properly in order to manipulate the weapon with grace, while learning to keep her free hand raised in front of her head, ready to deflect any blow with her forearm.
The armour, too, was a wonder that took her some time to get used to. It seemed to be made of some shiny white metal, but she had never seen anything like this, for if it was quite thick and sturdy, while thinner and more flexible at the joints, and there were no plates or gloves or boots, it seemed to be all made of a single piece of metal. Yet it was as flexible as it was solid, and she could move as easily as if she were wearing nothing, the thinner parts on the joints fit her as tightly as spandex. It wasn't a metal of this world. It was magic.
And this was how she had spent most of her spare time since the mayhem at King's College, going straight to the library after school to do her homework and some reading, then climbing to her favourite rooftop, changing into her knight form, doing some training, going home for dinner, and then, if she wasn't tired yet, like tonight, sneaking out and going back on that rooftop to do some more training. This was getting old. The more she trained, she more she felt a fire inside of her, an urge to try her newfound skills in a real fight. She wondered if that spirit she didn't have before came from the Cross. The first time she really connected with it, she had experienced all the memories and knowledge of the previous Bearers through history. And in a flash, it was all gone. But perhaps their skills and spirits, instead of breezing away from her, had moved to a more subconscious level, allowing her to learn to fight so quickly, and burning her soul with a warrior's courage. But what good was a warrior without a war? After Father de Sainte Croix passed away, she had returned to the presbitery where he slept and found some of his notes, but they wouldn't tell her what to do, where to go from here. So she would watch the news with diligence, trying to figure out if there were any paranormal event or something she could investigate on. She was so desperate she would even eavesdrop on conversations at school, but her classmates talked more about their boyfriends/girlfriends, movies and sports, than about being stalked by a vampire or a werewolf, or having seen a ghost. Weeks passed and nothing happened, and the Cross, always sitting snug on her chest, seemed to reflect a mocking light at her questions, as if to say: you figure this out, big girl.