Wilhelm Winterborn - July 15, 2011 02:20 AM (GMT)
Cane the wolfhound watched his master whack at a straw-filled dummy in the castle guards' training yard.
Wilhelm was not good at swords. He lacked the strength of bigger boys, and the swiftness of smaller ones. Nothing was graceful. Every stroke annoyed him because he knew it wasn't good enough. He knew he was no warrior. Every moment spent out there whaling on the dummy was another moment he yearned to be inside reading.
But if he was going to be a king, he felt he should learn a bit more about swinging a sword. Even one with a blunted edge.
No one else knew of the impending marriage, and Wilhelm was more than happy to keep quiet about it. Even his instructors didn't know. It was probably for the best, since his sword instructor, an elderly man named Pommel (and it was his real name), would probably worry and make him practice more. More sword practice was the last thing Will wanted.
"Will, watch your footing!" the instructor said.
"I am," Will grumbled.
"Look at your hands. You're not holding it right! Do I have to show you again?"
Pommel scowled magnificently. "Watch your tone, boy. Try again."
Will matched the scowl and swung at the dummy. The sword flew out of his hands.
Jude mac Cruihm - July 15, 2011 02:29 AM (GMT)
There was a whirring sound. A hiss. Then the shattering, ringing cry of metal hitting a hard wall not a foot away from him.
Jude stood rooted to his spot. Invisible vines held him in place, even as blue eyes sought out the source of his near-death experience. There! On the ground nearby. A sword. Jude felt his jaw lock. That was close. If he'd been standing even a foot away...
Blinking, he turned away from the sword. His eyes found a boy standing on the other side of the courtyard.
It was Wilhelm. Rune's brother.
A breath escaped his lips, one he didn't realize he was holding. It come out angry, almost furious. He could have died. Skewered like a pig on a fire. That wasn't something he could take lightly. Not at all.
Wilhelm Winterborn - July 15, 2011 02:37 AM (GMT)
Wilhelm gawked at the sword where it lay, and the young man it had almost killed. Pommel was too shocked to speak.
"Jude, I'm sorry," the boy quickly said. He jogged across the yard and stared forlornly at the sword on the ground. He heard sniggering from other men and guards nearby, but he was used to being laughed at while he practiced swords. "I...It just sorta slipped out."
Jude mac Cruihm - July 15, 2011 02:43 AM (GMT)
There wasn't anything but irritation in his blue eyes. It flickered like flashes of lightning. It was cold and unsympathetic.
Reaching out, Jude took one of Wilhelm's hands. "Your hands aren't sweaty," he commented, his eyes still on the boy. He wasn't wearing gloves either. Usually, it didn't matter, but gloves gave a fighter that extra friction required to keep it in hand--and not flying like a spear halfway across the damn courtyard.
Wilhelm Winterborn - July 15, 2011 02:46 AM (GMT)
"Well...no. It's cool out," the boy mumbled, averting his eyes.
He took his hand back. "It was blunt," he said. "The sword. It wouldn't have cut you."
Jude mac Cruihm - July 15, 2011 02:48 AM (GMT)
"Not an excuse," Jude replied, letting the hand go.
Wilhelm Winterborn - July 15, 2011 02:49 AM (GMT)
Wilhelm picked up the sword, holding the hilt with both hands. "I'm sorry."
Jude mac Cruihm - July 27, 2011 12:46 PM (GMT)
Of course Jude wasn't ready to forgive the kid, but the harsh line of his mouth did ease back a little. With a sigh, he looked down at the boy. "It's okay," he said, trying to push the nagging irritation aside.
Wilhelm Winterborn - July 27, 2011 06:25 PM (GMT)
Will nodded, looking sheepishly at the ground.
Pommel approached and looked at both boys. "Jude, perhaps you'd like to have a turn at showing Wilhelm a thing or two about swords?" He eyed the younger boy. "Nothing I say seems to stick."
Wilhelm paled a little bit. It was bad enough almost clocking Jude in the head, he didn't want to give the boy a reason to hit him back. "I'm just not good with swords," he grumbled.