Nov 2008

Chapter 49Argent

Deirdre was a little miffed, just for a moment though. It was quite hard to keep something from her, but I had to persist. Unfortunately, we still had quite some time to kill until it was evening. Deirdre showed me most of the city which was less interesting than I had expected it to be. The streets and houses were mostly the same throughout the city, with the houses around the market only marginally more luxurious than those near the wall. Of course between the outside and inside city walls, the hovels were of a much lower class. But even there, there was a sort of sameness about them.

There were a few other interesting things though. They had a few small fountains which were natural, based on underground streams. It allowed fresh water to run into the city and be available to the people with little effort. Of course Dawnbridge had a decent system as well, but it required much more 'intervention of man' before we got anything.

We wanted to practice our arts, but though it wasn't crowded as such, there were always people around. We didn't want to leave the city completely either. Who knows what would happen in the city, preventing us to enter again. Instead, we thought of something else we could try.

Sword fighting.

I bought a cheap (but practical) sword for Deirdre on the market and we decided practice would be a good plan. We looked a while until we found a corner where we wouldn't be a bother to anyone, even with the clang of metal. We wouldn't hit very hard, but it would be nice to get a feel and the pacing of each others moves.

That, and I was curious if my style would be any good against Deirdre. She hadn't really seen me fight yet with just a sword, which is different from using magic. I was quite used to letting it flow and help me as often as I could, even in subtle things. But this time it would be good to just fight and move with what we had.

Deirdre looked at me curiously as I unsheathed my sword and moved towards her. I kept the tip away from her, which was very unusual as it made me open for attack. Which I wanted.

And she supplied.

Deirdre made an easy swipe at mid-height which I blocked with a forward movement of my sword. I continued the movement which allowed for a low strike. It was an easy start, I suppose, for the both of us. She turned her sword down and blocked it while she stepped backwards. She nodded in acknowledgement of the situation, knowing that we were both able.

Next she made an attack, turning slightly in a low to high strike for my neck. I had to raise my hand to block it, but the advantage is that her sword would get 'stuck' near my hand-guard. I surprised her by allowing her sword to continue upward a little while I could aim my point towards her stomach.

We stopped there for a moment.

Deirdre looked at me with quite a bit of admiration on her face. "Again."

I nodded.

I knew she wasn't going to hold back on me this time. We still had to be somewhat careful not to hurt each other, but soon the dance of blades started. It was so amazing, she did a lot more effort this time. The clangs of our swords were almost rhythmical. People sometimes stood and watched us for a minute before moving on.

For ourselves it was magical. After a while we moved in perfect harmony. Hardly even having to move it seemed to make it look like we were fighting for our lives. Ducks, lean, step back. All matched by the other. Forward, thrust, strike. Each one blocked. Nothing appeared to take any effort anymore, it was a dance we could keep up forever.

I loved it.

To me it felt like I got to know her much deeper than anything else we'd done together. Even touching her naked skin wasn't as intimate as this. Here every move told something about her and about me. And it fit together so perfectly. Again I got the feeling we were meant to be together. Both of us using strengths and weaknesses as best we could. I was stronger, but not as agile as her. It was easier for me to block a strike, but she often surprised me with sudden changes in direction. We complemented each other.

When we stopped, we were tired in the best possible way. Not really out of breath, just the feeling of intense labor.

It actually took a while before we realized how much time had passed. It was surprisingly close to evening and time to set Deirdre's plan into motion. The only problem was that we forgot about the letter. We had to make something that was reasonably passable, but not too serious.

I came up with the idea to make a sort of report on Stonesthrow with no signature. Which would be enough to get them wondering but not enough to actually do something. Parchment and ink was easily arranged. Since I'd always enjoyed writing, we had a decent letter just a few minutes later. We sealed it with wax. Neither of us had a signature ring though, so it was just simple wax. It looked quite decent.

We waited another few minutes for the ink to dry, aided by a hearth, before we headed to the castle. It was quiet there. Some students outside but nothing special. The market around it appeared somewhat quieter as well. But that was partly because the stalls on this side handled more expensive things. There was less bargaining going on and more buying.

We headed in.