Wednesday, July 6, 2011
I make the jump, landing lightly on the balls of my feet. The crow on the chimney cocks its head, blinking at me. It flutters upward, and shifts. He lands just as lightly and unlocks the roof door. Bowing, his shaggy black hair drifts over his glittering eyes. Silk hides a smile and lowers her lids in a smokey glance. He presses a hand over his heart and sighs.
As my foot touches the first step he murmurs for my ears only, "Guunnar is inside with a new recruit. He cleared the blade room of anybody else."
I smile. I know exactly where I am going. The Viking can just suck it up.
I hear the crack of steel on wood, and the oof of someone landing hard. The hallway is empty. No one loiters near the room to watch. I smile and step soundlessly through the doorway. The girl is slender, her movements are flexible. She looks scared out of her skin though. I watch as she moves in under a swing and pokes the giant Viking in the stomach. He harrumphs and changes his swing to block her next strike. the mere force of his swings sends her stumbling.
"Guunnar, vat ees theese. You teach her fight vith sword, but not dance vith sword?"
I tsk at him and move past, hips swaying. I sheathe my blades and take hers from her hand, turning the blade and measuring its balance. I nod and hand it back, moving to pick up an identical weapon.
Guunnar grins at me. He sketches a low bow and introduces us. "Nina, dese ist Mistress Leather, better known to her friends as Silk." He raises a hand to the side of his lips, feigning secrecy. "Sie vill tell du ven ist ok to call her dat."
I heft an estoc and spin. The tip of its blade flicks across the man's left arm. He is instantly on his guard. The young girl hides a laugh, but you can see it in her eyes. I motion for him to come and he follows me.
"Vatch leetle vone."
The girl hunkers down where she is, eyes wide and eager. Guunnar comes at me, swinging. I lean back and the blade swishes harmlessly by. I twist as I right myself, spinning to roll under his next cut, and score a nick to his thigh. I could have hit higher, but I was proving a point to the girl, not Guunnar.
He growls softly and feints. I sway away from the blow, twisting in to strike. Capturing his arm, I use it to propel myself around him. The girl is laughing and Guunnar's gaze narrows. As I glide closer, he blocks my first strike, nearly missing the next. The third takes him in the side. He jumps back, and bows.
I flourish the blade, and motion to the girl. "As much as men vould like vomen to fight like men, sometimes ve do theengs our own vay. Come. I teach you to dance vith blade, si?"
It takes her a few moments to realize I am offering to help her learn to hold her own against someone as big and intimidating as Guunnar. She rises slowly, looking doubtful.
"I'm fast and I'm agile, but I'm nowhere near as graceful as you are."
I laugh and the girl jerks. "Practeese, mi amora, Ees lots un lots of practeese."
I can taste her unease. Much as she admires what I can do, the kid is scared of me. I wonder what she senses from me. She comes closer and I have her mimic my movements with the sword. "Ven you fight, feel the rhythm of each movement like feeling music ven dancing. Ees a dance of living, child."
As Guunnar strikes I begin to move and she follows my lead. His blow passes us, and she keeps her feet by letting the breeze flow over her instead of blocking it with her body. I think it amazes her. Guunnar laughs as she twists upward, surging into his personal space.
"Vell done, leetle vone!"
She stares at the broad plane of Guunnar's chest as it dawns on her that she is inside his swing zone. She blinks up at Guunnar.
"I did it? I did it. I DID IT!!!!!!!!"
She bounces on her toes and is suddenly vaulting past his reach. I blink and slowly smile. She glances my way and stills instantly.
I grin at Guunnar.
"Can you do that again, mi amora?" The kid nods slowly. "I theenk ve find sometheeng to vork vith..."
For the next few hours, we dance. I teach her how to see the beginning of each move, to judge how her body needs move out of strike range. She catches on, bouncing around almost faster than the eye could follow. Less often she finds herself on her ass. More often, she is bouncing up and away before Guunnar can make a grab for her.
I warn her that there are those out there faster than she. She doesn't wield the blade nearly as fast as she can move. We start drilling with that as Guunnar catches his breath. When I let her take a break, the kid is drenched in sweat. I don't know who recruited this kid, but she has potential. Guunnar tells her to call it a night and hit the showers.
As she heads down the hall, Guunnar looks at me. "Vell, vas tinks du?"
"I theenk she ees fast. Lots of... energee." I tap a finger to my chin. "She ees deetermeened." I smile, lips twisting in a wry grin, "But maybe no long range veapons. Vith her energee, she may not hold aim vell."