By: Makashi Posted on: February 06, 2007
The clang of steel on steel echoed throughout the Courtyard as a group of men sparred each other, banter combined with shouted orders adding to the atmosphere. A pair in particular stood out in the middle of the yard, a wide circle surrounding them. Their blades flashed in the sunlight, their swords blurring towards each other and deflected with expert movements. The speed and ferocity of the pair drew many envious looks and caused many a jaw to drop.
One of the men was tall and lanky, at an obvious advantage with his long reach and lightning-quick reflexes. The other man, short but heavily muscled, never made a mistake. His form was utter perfection, his skill with the blade making up for his slower reflexes. As the two danced the dance of war throughout the Courtyard, pairs began to cease sparring to watch.
Suddenly the short man roared aloud and rushed the other, pushing him back with his ferocity. He quickly spun, his blade reaching for the other man's temple. At the last second, the man twisted his wrist, slamming the hilt of his sword against the other's forehead, knocking him out. As he stood over the defeated combatant, he quickly sheathed his sword, and walked over to where his armour lay. Roars of approval rang from the rest of the Maldaathi knights, all in support of the victor. The knight sat at a bench, and began to polish his armor. A young man, still in his teens approached the knight, his eyes shining with the invincibility of youth.
"Lord? May I speak with you for a while?"
"By all means, Sentry. What can I aid you with today?"
"Lord, I watched that fight...we all watched that fight. Your skill is legendary, yet few who have seen it actually live to tell of it. I was wondering...would you please mentor me in the ways of battle? Teach me to wield a sword as well as you?"
As the man finally looked at the boy, he began sizing him up. Lithe and proper, he held himself straight and proud. His armour was well polished and shining brilliantly, though without the dents of war marking them. Two large hilts jutted over his shoulders, and he saw that the boy trained himself with double scimitars.
The knight stood and gestured towards the swords. "How well can you use those?"
The boy grinned and took one from it's sheathe, flourishing it before him. "I believe I can use it better than most, m'Lord."
The knight chuckled as he picked his own sword up, and pointed it towards the boy. "Show me."
The Sentry hesitated, and the knight crashed into him, disarming him with his off hand and quickly pinning him to the ground. "Never hesitate. I am now your enemy. I am everything you have fought to keep underground, the thing which you hate most. You must do everything you can to destroy me, or I will prevail and I will destroy you. It's live or die now, boy. Survival of the fittest. You have asked me to teach you, and I will. You will learn, or you will die. Hesitate again and your head will not be attached to your body when next it falls. Remember that."
The knight let the boy up and gave him his scimitar back. As he sat poised, the boy removed his armour and set it aside, tossing his other sword along with it. He quickly took up a fighters stance, balanced and ready to strike. The knight nodded, and the lesson began.
The boy cried out as the opponent scored him once, twice! Two slashes across his chest, both bleeding slightly. He had barely even had the time to move, he couldn't even see his teacher's sword. He began to think if what he had done was intelligent, then shook the thought away. The Seven Truths ran through his mind. The knight was his enemy, the pain was his friend. Pain was to be embraced, enjoyed. Enemies were to be destroyed.
He suddenly shouted aloud, and slashed towards the knight. The knight deflected the blow easily, quickly turning his blade and rapping him quickly across the shoulder with the flat of his blade. The boy showed nothing as he spun and slashed towards the knights neck, a quick and surprising attack that almost scored. As he turned, he deflected an attack of his own, before the knight began to overwhelm him. He began to focus on defense, his arms barely moving in time to stop the blows. Suddenly he ducked, poised on the balls of his feet as he launched himself upward, headbutting the knight viciously as he felt the enemy sword slash down his arm. The knight quickly spun and punched the boy hard in the sternum, pushing him away. The boy fell to his knees, exhaustion and pain washing over him as the adrenaline faded. The knight walked to him, and held out his hand.
"Stand, boy. You surprised me. You have good instincts, and your reflexes are quick. Time will hone those to perfection, but for now, we need to work on your ferocity. You will never win a battle without the want to kill, the wish to destroy your enemies so utterly that nothing may stop you. Come with me. I will show you how much ferocity I want from you."
The boy followed the knight as he walked out of Mhaldor, winding through the Island and over the mountains into Azdun. They moved into the bottom of Azdun, until the boy noticed a large root growing out of the ground. The knight grasped the root and sunk through the floor. The boy followed suit, and suddenly found himself in a wonderous place.
The knight pointed eastwards, and the boy noticed the largest knight he would ever see. The sword was almost as big as him, the armour beaten and blackened. The knight smiled, and a wolfish glint appeared in his eyes. "Stay here and watch. Keep your eyes on that knight. You will see how a monster fights his enemies." With that the knight's skin began to melt, practically oozing away. The knight withdrew his sword and charged, and was quickly upon the strange giant.
The knight hit the giant like a raging bull, his sword scoring a deep wound between the armour. The giant acted like it hadn't even been touched and suddenly swung, the speed and strength almost beheading the knight on the spot. They began to dance through the area, their swords practically singing as they whistled through the air. Suddenly the giant twisted, disarming the knight and cutting a deep groove into the knight's shoulder. The boy stood shocked for a second before quickly unsheathing both of his swords, an animal roar ripping through his throat as he charged. Just before the giant had time to impale the knight, the boy quickly stabbed both of his swords straight through the giant's back. The giant roared and spun, dealing the boy a ferocious blow across the head. As he tried to clear his head, he shook himself once and turned, only to find the giant falling and hitting the ground, his head rolling across the ground. The knight stood over him, both of the boy's scimitars in the knight's grip. He walked over to the boy and quickly brought him upright, thrusting the swords into his hands.
"You will be feared one day, boy. One day. For now, you will learn. Let us return to our city. Your training has barely begun."