When Drace met Ki on the practice field he was relieved to see that it was only she and her brother, Cearan.
Ki’s expression however, made Drace feel uneasy and more than a little nervous. He felt himself start to sweat. Suck it up MacKinnon, he thought to himself, eyeing Ki.
She stood talking to Cearan, her fine brows drawn together and she looked pissed. She returned his look, making him feel like something distasteful under her boot.
Well I’m not all that tickled to be here either, lady, Drace thought. He walked across the grassless area the size of a football field. He stopped just out the reach of the pair. Cearan wore a faintly amused expression as he held out a long sword and shield forDrace’s use.
Drace had refused the short sleeveless shirt the siblings seemed to prefer. Instead, he wore his only pair of doeskin breeches and leather boots, stripping out of the loose white linen shirt Estelle had found for him. Nimbus’ words echoed in his head.
Ki had not spoken to him yet and the way she was whipping that big sword around as she warmed up made him swallow hard. Maybe Nimbus does have some grounds for concern. Drace was suddenly very glad Cearan was there. What will I do if Lady Ki decides to do me in? I’m not sure, but maybe he’ll at least scrape together whatever’s left for disposal. Besides, he’s a fellow man, and guys stick together. Drace hoped that was true across planes as well. Cearan handed Drace the long practice sword, the edges blunted, but still capable of causing damage. The leather wrapped hilt fit nicely in his palm. The blade stop angled slightly down the blade. The hilt was unadorned and the blade plain steel. He also handed Drace a round, black painted, wooden shield, helping him adjust the straps to fit Drace’s left arm snugly but comfortably.
Cearan made a final adjustment and slapped the front of the shield. Drace raised his eyes from the sword to see a wink from the other man. “Give it a few swings to get the feel of it, and do not forget to breathe.”
Drace took a deep breath and gave him a lopsided grin. He walked off a few steps and gave a few practice swings. Even for a practice sword, the
balance was incredible. He continued to warm up for a moment then turned and approached Ki.
He gave her a nod of his head. “My Lady, I am ready for my first lesson.”
She returned his nod, “Good.” Moving back, she began to circle him. The way she moved, Drace went reflexively into a defensive partial crouch.
Her expression was very serious and not at all welcoming. “First, I wish to see what you know, and then I will teach. Do not expect any special treatment from me.” Her husky voice, with its soft accent, was almost a purr. She continued around him and in the split second he readjusted his weight she was on him. She was fast. He didn’t have time to counter with his sword and blocked with his shield instead.