The sword swings—too slow, too high—and Lake needs little effort to avoid the arcing blade
“Not good enough.”
Nemeric grunts. His tunic darkened by sweat, eyes wide and wild, his breath hard and ragged. Not pacing himself at all.
“Like we practiced,” Lake tells him. “One-“
Lake pivots from the hip, weapon raised, sweeping inwards. A clash of his sword against Nemeric’s, the shock of it felt in the fingers and forearm.
Lake pivots into a high, fast backswing and Nemeric dances away to avoid the speeding sword point.
Nemeric is recovering as Lake thrusts forward, a quick jab, no danger of it reaching Nemeric but he oversteps backwards, stumbles, falls flat on the sand as Lake moves in.
“Better,” he says.
The crowd roars in the high stands around them. Not for Lake and Nemeric. The main action is taking place on the broad wide expanse of the Square—in fact a rectangular plateau of bright white marble in the centre of the stadium—whilst Lake and Nemeric shuffle and feint and make a show of struggle, in the shadows near the edge of things.
Nemeric is flailing around with his sword as he struggles to rise, red faced and gulping air.
“Quickly, man, quickly,” Lake tells him. “Much longer and they’ll think your heart’s not-“
A howl from Lake’s right and he spins. Continue reading