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Chapter Twenty Two: Sparing

With a soothing nights rest in the marshlands, Damien is wakened up early by Evelyn, just as she promised she would do. With a great yawn and stretch, Damien stands to his feet, exit the tent and kneels down by a pool of water where he splashes water onto his face.

“Early riser today Master Damien?” Marat walks over and kneels down beside him, cupping his hands and scooping water from the pool. He takes a sip of water. “Not the cleanest nor is it any good, but it will do for now till we can heat up some later.”

“Master Marat, may I ask you a question?” Damien looks over at the minotaur.

“Yes, what question would that be, Master Damien?” the minotaur looks over at the young boy.

“I was wondering would you spare with me this morning. I still not know how to fight and everyone else seems to be still asleep or busy this morning.” Damien asks.

Marat gives a small side grin, “Of course Master Damien. You only need to ask. I am here to help you in any way I can.”

“Great. I now fine with you?” Damien asks.

“Yes I would love to spare with you now. But not with sharp swords. I would not want to harm you.” Marat giggles.

“Then what will we use?” Damien asks.

“A waster is what we will train with.” Marat comments.

“And where are you to get wasters?” Damien asks.

“Here.” Evelyn walks over with two swords made entirely out of wood. “I figured these would be coming in handy sooner or later.”

Evelyn tosses Marat one of the wooden swords and then one to Damien. Damien looks over at the large muscular Minotaur and stands with his arm out holding the wooden sword with one hand and his feet apart just a little.

Marat grins and steps forward with a swing of the sword knocking the wooden waster straight out of Damien’s hand. “Pick it up, master Damien.”

Damien reaches down and grabs the waster and retakes his weaken stance once more.

Evelyn shakes her head, “Damien your stance is terrible. That is not how you stand to fight your opponent.”

Evelyn walks over and fixes Damien’s stance, making him stand in a basic middle stance in which his right foot was forward and back foot under him, with his hands held on the hilt of the waster. She makes sure his elbows are bent and arms held just above his waist.

“This is really uncomfortable.” Damien looks at Evelyn.

“Fighting isn’t supposed to be comfortable. There are three basic stances in which you will probably learn, which will keep you alive. Staying alive is most important not how comfortable you are.” Evelyn comments.

“She is right, Mast Damien. The Middle stance you are in is a great stance to keep yourself moving and blocking attacks.” You must learn all three, but I guess the middle stance is a good place to start with.” Marat agreed with Evelyn.

“Very well.” Damien nods at Marat.

“Ok Master Damien I am going to swing now. You try and block me.” Marat tells the preteen.

The minotaur steps forward and swings his waster from left to right towards Damien. With his eyes on the minotaur, Damien lifts his arms and swings right to left making a block with his wooden sword. The wood bang together.

“Good, good.” Marat nods as he takes a step back. “Now I am going to give a little more force with the same attack. I want you to push back with your block, and back turn away, making you free and able to strike from the other side of me.”

Marat did exactly what he said, the minotaur swung again, and Damien went for the block. As the wooden swords clash, Damien’s feet slipped, and the minotaur’s strength of his attack made Damien fall to the ground.

“Make sure your feet are planted Damien. You must show strength in your legs when you block.” Evelyn calls out.

Damien hurries back to his feet and gets back into the stance, “Again. Come at me again.”

Marat looks at Damien then Evelyn. HE shrugs his shoulders and attacks once more. This time Damien made his plant, made the block and turned opposite, around and hits the minotaur with his waster.

“Nice!” Evelyn says with excitement.

“Don’t get over excited Miss Evelyn, it was only his second time. Let’s not jinx the boy.” Marat comments.

“Lets do it again.” Damien smiles.

“Okay Master Damien this time I am going to attack a few different ways, and you try and block my attacks as best as you can.” Marat tells the young boy.

The minotaur attacks Damien. Left, right, left, spin around and right attack once more. Damien moves his feet, swung his waster with his eyes on the minotaur. Damien moves swiftly and blocks each attack as if he was already trained by the best knight in Granderhill. Astonished Marat steps back.

“My…my…my. I believe young Master Damien has been hiding a true talent.” Marat tilts his head with a nod of respect towards Damien.

“Again. I want to see him do that again.” Evelyn huffs. “I bet he can’t do it. There’s no way.”

Marat and Damien spares once more, and Marat makes it a little more interesting with a more skilled attack. Damien blocks, turns, and slided, with great ease as he fights the minotaur. Then as Marat is about to make his last blow at Damien, the young heir runs at the minotaur, slides under his legs, bending his back as far as he could as if he was limboing under a low stick. With a quick stand and turn, Damien strikes his waster onto Marat’s back.

“Holy cow!” Evelyn’s eyes went wide. “No possible way!”

“Seems Damien is picking up thing instantaneously.” Bredan walks over with Xena, Brute and Razlyn.

“A pure natural. I knew the kid had talent.” Xena smiles at Damien.

“Ha! I think it was just pure luck. I doubt he’d be able to handle it in a real fight with real swords.” Evelyn glares. “There’s just no way.”

“Now Evelyn don’t be so hasty. Maybe Damien has a special gift we are unaware of.” Razlyn comments. “Who knows maybe he’s much more then we think he is.”

“Like I said early to Damien, he is much more then just a muggle.” Bredan smirks standing there with his hands on his hips. “After all he is part of the prophecy. Master Greybeard must have been somewhat aware of Damien’s gifts.”

“Perhaps.” Evelyn sighs. “I just jealous I guess. Kinda upsetting that I have had a lot of training in the blade and bow, and he has already picked up how to block and move with grace in swordplay with in one day.”

“I don’t mean to upset you Evelyn.” Damien approaches his friend. “It just comes to me I guess. I really don’t know what I am doing. Just doing what feels natural.”

“It’s not your fault Damien. I am glad that you are picking it up so fast. At least I know you can handle yourself now.” Evelyn gives a small grin.

“If you don’t mind Evelyn, I would actually prefer that you continue to teach me your ways. Marat is great and all, but I think we would work well together. Your instructions and teaching has helped me more than you know.” Damien asks.

“I can do that, Damien. And maybe I can out smart you and show that it is luck after all.” Evelyn giggles.

Damien smiles positioning himself in the middle stance, “Come on then show me what you got!”

Marat hands Evelyn the waster and Evelyn stood in an unfamiliar stance. She stood somewhat like Damien only her front knee is bent, and her right arm is over her head with the sword’s point pointing towards Damien. Her other arm is bent in front of her, her palm facing upwards.

“Okay Damien, are you ready?” Evelyn asks.

“Come on. Attack me already.” Damien grins. “I can handle it.”

“That’s what you think.” Evelyn grins as she looks over at the others.

With a swing of her right hand over her head like she would throw a lasso, Evelyn makes a great twisting motion in the air, and a full back swipe at Damien with the waster. Damien moves and blocks the attack. Evelyn moves swiftly around and makes a combination of slashes, jabs and turns at Damien all in which Damien could feel in the rhythm of the attacks. With out delay, Damien moves, slid, turns, and block each attack with content, which only made Evelyn push her attacks harder and more aggressive towards the young king. Sweat runs down both their faces, as the fellowship watches the sparing before them. Evelyn begin to grow tired, as does Damien. Each one pushes themselves over the limit, until Evelyn makes her final attempt to knock Damien off his feet. With a slid to her knees, Evelyn turns on the slippery morning grass and passes Damien’s right side. She stands quickly to her feet as she stood behind him. With a mighty swing of her waster she makes her final attack. Damien’s intuition perks, as he leaps up and flips backwards over Evelyn’s head. Shocked Evelyn freezes, as Damien pokes Evelyn in her back with his Waster.

“Gotcha!” Damien calls out with a large grin.

Evelyn huffs and drops the waster on the ground. She turns around to look at Damien with a great stare as if she was about to sock him in the face. Shaking her head she gives a small grin, “You got me fair and square. I gave you all I had.”

“You both gave all you had. An excellent performance.” Bredan complements the two youngsters.

Evelyn walks away from Damien and the other over to a pool of water where she sits down on a small boulder and glares at her reflection for a few moments.

“Is she going to be alright?” Damien asks.

“She’ll be fine.” Razlyn walks up to Damien as she looks out at the young archer. “I wouldn’t worry too much about her. She’s strong.”

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BJ Swabb
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