Gender: Male Age: 53 Location: Las Vegas, Nv
|Introduction: Guard Captain joins my practice|
It was a day later that it rained. I had brought the wood in and started the fires before I headed back out to the stables for my exercises. People were still laughing at the Earl and coming to the inn to drink so that was good. Since it was raining things would slow down today. I moved to the open area just inside the door of the stable and started stretching.
I was just finishing when the Guard Captain stepped into the doorway. I had only seen him a couple of times. He was a big man that moved well. He carried a slim sword and dagger and didn’t take crap from anyone. I bowed, “Can I help you sir?”
He grinned, “I heard you knew how to fight and wanted a word.”
I bowed and waved but he only looked around the open area by the door, “What were you doing when I came in?”
I shrugged, “When I was little I was taught a few things. Like how to stretch before I did any exercises. It helps prevent me from tearing muscles.”
The Captain grinned, “They were right. Would you like a partner?”
I hesitated, I didn’t want to embarrass the captain. He must have been reading my mind, “Don’t worry if you knock me on my ass.”
I finally bowed and waved to the area in front of me. He undid his sword belt and hung it from a peg. He pulled his boots off and started a few stretches. When he was ready he stepped forward. We slowly circled and I knew this was not going to be easy. I would have to make it look like it was harder then it would be. I also knew in only a few moments that I was much better then him.
His eyes flicked and he lunged towards me, grabbing at my left wrist. I shifted and turned sideways while bringing my right hand down onto the back of his wrist. My thumb was in the back of his hand as I twisted and turned bringing his arm up and over me. He landed hard on his back when I released him as he lost balance. I hesitated and held my hand down to help him up. He was blinking and trying to catch his breath.
The laugh from the doorway made us both look. The captain grinned and took my hand to be helped up. In the doorway was one of the guard Lieutenants. I released the captain and moved back as he changed the way he stood, “Teaches me to not respect my sparing partner.”
I smiled but kept moving. When he shifted and one leg started to lift in a kick I was already moving. I slid sideways and spun lifting my hand. It connected with the heel of the captain’s foot and continued to lift as he kicked. The captain crashed to the ground with a loud thump and shook his head. I again moved forward to hold down my hand. When he was on his feet he shook his head and nodded.
The lieutenant had squatted inside the door and watched as we circled. I could tell the captain was going to let me move first and slid closer. I fainted and when he went to block, I spun and kicked back. I pulled the blow but the captain still went flying back. He rolled and came to his feet with a wide grin. Our practice lasted almost an hour before he stopped and stepped back to catch his breath. He was grinning, “You are very good lad, do you know any weapon work?”
I relaxed and stood up straight, “knife or dagger work, some staff and a little bit of sword play.”
He grinned at the lieutenant, “Somehow I don’t think I want to try practicing with a sword.”
The lieutenant laughed, “I don’t blame you. All you’ve been is his practice dummy.”
The captain grinned as he turned to put his boots on, “And I think he was being gentle on me.”
The lieutenant laughed again and I did some stretching before the captain finally put his sword belt on and turned to me, “Do you practice every day?”
I nodded, “The master gave me leave.”
He smiled, “Perhaps we could practice a little dagger work tomorrow.”
I bowed, “I would be honored.”
I watched him leave with the lieutenant before shaking myself. I started doing chores, first the horses and then the water barrels. I became busy in no time and put our practice out of my mind. The few guards that came in for lunch or dinner looked at me strangely but didn’t say anything. I finished my chores and the master excused me for the night.
I woke to a thick misty rain and shivered as I slid out of bed. I felt good after a night of uninterrupted sleep. I headed for the wood pile thinking I needed to remind the master that we needed another cord of wood. I finished starting the fires and opened the kitchen door to see almost a dozen guards standing in the stable doorway. I stepped out slowly and started across, “Can I help you sirs?”
They laughed and a sergeant I recognized stepped forward, “We came to watch you practice with the Captain.”
I looked at them, “Did I do something wrong?”
They all laughed as boot steps sounded from the courtyard archway, “No lad, they came to watch you give me lessons.”
The captain walked into the courtyard carrying two wooden daggers. The guards parted and I hesitated before following the captain into the stable. He was wearing a light leather jerkin and two wrist bracers. I nodded as I moved to one side and began to stretch. It was a minute before he joined me and started to almost mirror my stretches.
We finished and he picked up and wooden dagger and tossed it to me. I felt the weighted wooden practice blade and spun it around my hand a couple of times to get the feel. I looked up to see the captain shaking his head while the guards laughed. I shrugged, “The balance is to heavy in the hilt.”
He grinned and his stance shifted to a crouch. I reversed the blade along my arm and moved forward. We circled and I shifted forward more and his dagger struck straight for my chest. I spun sideways as my hand grabbed his wrist and twisted. My dagger went over my hand to swipe across his forearm below his elbow and above the bracer before I released him. I stayed close as he twisted and made a cut towards my stomach.
I blocked and stepped even closer striking his upper arm with the point of my wooden dagger. My hand blocked his knife wrist as my own dagger struck the inside of his thigh and ripped across. I stepped back and shifted as I changed hands and the captain looked between my two hands and grinned as he stepped after me. This time my strikes were faster. He grunted when I pushed past his defense to land a blow on his body. The captain continued through ten defeats and finally stepped back in disgust, “Damn.”
I flipped the dagger and handed it back by the blade, “I’m sorry sir.”
The crowd of guards laughed and the captain glared at them before grinning and looking at me. “How did you get so damn fast?”
I shrugged, “Practice grabbing cheese from a big rat trap.”
The guards laughed again and the captain grinned again, “How about swords tomorrow?”
I hesitated, “I’m not really that good with a sword.”
He grinned, “In that case I might actually get to touch you.”
I shrugged, “I try not to let that happen sir.”
The guards roared as they laughed and the captain waved them away. He waited until the last ones had left and looked at me, “I wanted to thank you boy. You have given not only me, but my men a challenge. If a stable boy can do what you have, what about one of the less… upright citizens.”
He gripped my shoulder and then left. I cleaned and straightened up before starting my chores. Today was busy as a small group of mercenaries came to the inn. All the stalls were full and in the evening I helped the wood cutter as he stacked another cord of wood. I spent a lot of time in the common room that night. The mercenaries were a loud drunken lot.
When the Master finally called it a night and had Ms Peace lock the kitchen door I left for my bed. The morning was clear and promised to be a good day. There was even more guards in the courtyard when I came out of the kitchen. Three of the mercenaries were still up and leaning against the inside archway. The Captain only glanced at them as he passed. He held two wooden practice swords and a padded jacket that looked like it might fit me. I gestured to the courtyard, “It’s dry.”
The captain smiled and joined me in stretching. We had just started when one of the mercenaries laughed and started heckling. The captain’s face reddened as they said a stable boy was the only one he was fit to fight. The guards were silent as they glared at the three mercenaries. Rather then have the guards start something that might spill into the inn… I straightened and looked at the captain, “May I borrow your sword sir?”
He looked from me to the practice swords and then his sword belt. I gestured to the belt and he hesitated before his eyes narrowed. He nodded and pulled the long, slim blade of his sword out of its sheath and reversed it. He handed it to me hilt first and I turned to the mercenaries. I looked at the one in the center, “If I am such a pour challenge perhaps you could put me in my place.”
They laughed and he wave me away, “This isn’t shoveling manure boy.”
I bowed slightly and half turned to the captain, “I’m sorry sir, he seems to be afraid of me.”
The mercenaries shoved away from the wall with a hiss. The one in the center pulled his sword as he started walking towards me, “If that is the way you want it, rat!”
I turned and shifted as he got closer. He didn’t even pause as he suddenly lunged. I swept across and out slapping his sword away before bringing the flat of my blade back to slap his inner arm. He jerked back and then swung his sword down in a cut. I slapped it across his body before bringing my blade back to slap the flat of the blade against the side of his head.
He went crazy, hacking and cutting at me. I used an eastern technique. Instead of letting his sword hit my blocking sword. I used my sword to turn the force of his blows away. I kept slapping him, on the side of his head, his arms and his body. I finally had enough and when he lunged again I slapped his sword away and put the point of my blade against his throat, “One move and it will be your last.”
He stopped moving as I shifted a half step closer. The other two mercenaries had gone from bragging and laughing to serious. My blade dropped to prick the back of his sword hand and his blade dropped to the ground, “You earn your living fighting. You should know better then anyone to never underestimate your opponent. Never lose your calm, if you get angry, it can kill you.”
I stepped back and gestured to his sword on the ground, “Take your sword and go.”
He knelt while watching me and retrieved his sword. He stood and started for the arch with his friends and then stopped. He turned to face me and bowed before turning and walking away. I sighed and turned to the captain. The guards were all quiet as I held the sword out hilt first, “I’m sorry sir, do you still wish to practice?”
The captain laughed and a moment later it was joined by the rest of the guards. The captain bowed after taking his sword, “I think I was just saved from a terrible beating.”
The guards laughed again and the captain shifted to look around, “The boy was right. Never underestimate your opponent. If you get angry, it can kill you. We are city guards, we are the ones to keep the peace, no matter against who.”
He smiled at me and bowed, “Would you consider teaching the guards a couple of days every week?”
I looked at the kitchen door where the master stood, “I would have to get Master Hoard’s permission sir.”
He followed my look as Master Hoard nodded, “Three days if you can my lord.”
The captain grinned and looked around, “Good. I won’t be the only one with bruises.”
The guards laughed and began leaving.
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