Part two! Here was part 1. Again, this is Cirrus (the Soldier POV), having just started his practice match with the Aquari 5th Lieutenant, Arturus Mariner. I’m hoping even though it is just the first draft, that I was able to give somewhat of a clear visualization of how the characters were moving. Thanks for reading!
Chapter 21 (first draft)
Part 2 of 3
Arturus stepped back at the last moment from Cirrus’s downward, centrally aimed chop, with lighting quick, controlled speed. Cirrus, instantly realizing the strike was to be a miss, leaped in the opposite direction that the 5th evaded, to avoid any attack at his exposed back.
When he turned quickly with a low stance, ready to react to anything, he saw a sword slashing toward him, half an arm-length from his left side.
Cirrus parried at the last moment, stabbing his own sword across his body at the ground to block the swing. What he was not expecting was the power behind the attack. The vibration of the two weapons colliding pulled at his muscles. Had he not blocked, it would surely have taken a few ribs.
Yet he did not allow the shock to hesitate his own next attack. Cirrus raised his blade and attempted a stab, but the other man spun the other way, anticipating it. When it was Arturus’s time to attack, this time he was standing straight and ready. They exchanged blows then. Back and forth they attempted a strike at the most exposed section of the other. When that was determined futile, Cirrus attempted double attacks, quick thrusts and slashes that were simple to block, yet were followed by another, harder attack. The feinting tactic made the real attacks less predictable.
When Arturus added a similar approach to his own strikes, they were extremely difficult to gauge. Some lightning quick, some purposely slowed down to catch him off guard. Some of his strikes barely caused a sound when the swords contacted, pure feints, while others had the force of a tidal wave behind them.
They danced like this around the deck of the ship, using the railings and different levels to their own advantage or their opponent’s disadvantage whenever they could. At one point they broke apart and circled each other. At that time, both men saw they were both panting and sweating under the ocean sun.
“Gods, you are good!” Arturus said to Cirrus, bright eyes locked and combat focused. “I might train with you yet.”
Cirrus said nothing in return. He was exhausted, but would not show it. He had never known such a challenge in his life. The short break was not as long as he needed.
“Again!” Arturus Mariner shouted, cutting a line through their circle.
The pace picked up. Cirrus was capable of continuing, but not for long. He felt the other man weakening in strength as well, though not as much. He attempted to bring the man down to his level of exhaustion by adding a few punches with his off-hand to his arsenal. A few made crunching contact with accompanying grunts from Arturus.
It stalled him, but only momentarily. In the midst of their shared fatigue, Arturus appeared to have reached into another well of strength and speed, his attacks became desperate and frenzied. Too fast for Cirrus, he was not equipped to handle the onslaught. Forced to the ship’s lone mast, the exchanges turned into one man attacking while the other defended on his heels. Eventually his back hit the mast, and in the instant opening created from the surprise, Arturus had the dulled edge of his iron blade to the side of Cirrus’s neck.
Then the 5th stepped back, hand out. Cirrus took it after a moment and righted himself to stand straight, the wood no longer at his back.
* * *
(end of part 2)
© 2013 FOTS Fantasy