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Lunge, parry, riposte. Young Edmund, while technically acceptable, was the least exciting student Rene remembered in his ten years of instruction, and he stifled a yawn as they repeated the same sequence of moves.
Again and again.
His third yawn caused a reaction, but not from his young charge.
"Perhaps, monsieur, if you are tired, you should stop for the day. I would not have Edmund injured due to slow reflexes."
Owen Tregarth. Edmund's tutor and, by all appearances, more protector than teacher. He'd certainly protected Edmund from Rene's more indelicate advances, even though the lad was well old enough to decide such things for himself.
"I am not so much tired as frustrated, Sir. Perhaps if you would allow my student to move on to the saber."
"I think not." The answer came as immediate as Edmund's fierce disappointment, and Rene smiled at the lad, stepping back and breaking form to signal that their lesson was ended for the day.
"I think, then, that we are finished for the day. Why do you not go and clean up, Edmund?"
Cheeks flaming, Edmund nodded and left the room, back straight as the blade of a foil. Rene rounded on Tregarth, advancing as he would upon a dangerous opponent. "You are cruel. He only wishes to gain skill. Why do you hold him back?"
"I am charged with his safety." The man held his ground, and why should he not? Despite the fact that Rene still held an epee, Tregarth had six inches and a good two stone on him, and Rene would bet he was quick on his feet, despite his size. "I cannot allow you to push him faster than he is ready for, just so you might impress him with your flashy skills."
Dark eyes flashed, Tregarth's brow lowering in a deep frown. "He is the child of an aristocrat. Of course I do. It would be my hide were he to come to harm."
Lowering the sword, Rene stepped back, nodding. "That's true enough. I apologize. I simply long for a challenge, and sabers stir the blood."
"If you truly wish a challenge, Godard, meet me at the Faith Chapel behind the Rue Mar tonight, after dark."
"Should I bring seconds? Dueling is illegal, you know."
"I am well aware. I have no wish to truly duel with you. I simply chose that area to add to your excitement, hmm? Getting caught and all that."
He opened his mouth to reply, but Edmund came out, cheeks still burning with the righteous rage of youth, and he had time for no more than a nod. "Dark, then."
"Yes." Something flashed in Tregarth's eyes the likes of which he had not seen there before, something that put his blood up, and then the man and the boy were gone, leaving Rene with no company save anticipation.
Posted March 7, 2011
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