Testing the Waters
they all met up again in arms training. It was a two hour block of basic
instruction or practice that they had elected to take before lunch. All of them
were in the beginners group and were presently being heckled by Galatia’s older
sisters. The sisters were considered to be assistant instructors because of
their skill level. They were not allowed to openly humiliate any member of
either house but their veiled insults were thin at best.
let’s see if you can keep from giving yourself another bruise today.” Peace
said as she tossed an oak staff to her younger sister.
shocked her when she snatched the staff out of the air and spun it around like
she had been using it for years. She had taken the insults from them for years
and never knew what to do about them… until now. “Care to spar with me Peace?”
laughed mockingly at her. “Mom made me promise not to hurt you.” She said
gave her any such promise.” Galatia responded. It got the required response.
grabbed her arm. “What are you doing?”
little payback.” She said with determination.
stronger than you and she’s gonna kick your ass.” Zaria said with as much
probably but she’s gonna have a few new bruises too.” She looked at the
concerned look in Zaria’s face. “We have to start somewhere, right?”
acquiesced to the comment and wished her luck. The children formed a circle and
Peace and Galatia stepped into the center.
Peace was not
expecting any real opposition so she was sloppy… at first. She spun the staff
confidently and then swung it in a short maneuver to strike Galatia in the ribs
but the blow didn’t land on flesh. Galatia tipped her staff vertically to the
ground to block the blow and then brought the tip down on top of Peace’s head.
Peace staggered from the not quite fully checked blow.
her head to clear the stars and then sent a burning glare at her smirking
sister. A shocked gasp went up from the crowd and then the fight started in
earnest and the crowd was quick to join in cheering for their favorite
combatant. Peace was done with showing off; she was too well trained to
discount a strike like that from an otherwise underestimated opponent. She
squared her shoulders and assumed an offensive stance while Galatia did the
one another for a moment and then Peace struck out. She was still confident
that she had more skill than her younger sister and ordinarily she would have
been correct… had Gabrielle not awakened with all of her memories intact. Still
she had the advantage because Galatia’s body did not have any muscle memory… it
barely had any muscle.
hard at Galatia’s head, it was deflected but she simply spun and dropped into a
crouch and aimed for her sister’s knees. Galatia hopped over the staff and
brought her own down once again towards Peace’s head. This time it struck the
shoulder instead but it drove Peace to her knees. Galatia backed up to allow
Peace to regain her feet and her composure, her anger and her embarrassment were
beginning to show.
fighting had become intense so had the cheering and other groups were gathering
around to see the sisters fight. The Amazon Instructors and Guardians were also
drawn to the fight. They pushed their way to the front and formed a proper
circle with the staffs that they all carried on the practice field.
noted the arrival of the Amazons with a certain amount of pride and to show her
appreciation for their attention she twirled her staff and spun it behind her
back only to retrieve it from just above her shoulder like a sword. She quickly
pulled it like that imaginary sword and swung it down towards her opponent. As
it came level with Peace’s face she stepped forward and cradled the other end
of the staff in her right hand and lightly popped her surprised sister in the
forehead. The light blow sent Peace staggering backwards. She had not expected
such a move from her younger sister.
Galatia stepped back and allowed her sister to regain her senses. She brought
her staff back to a ready stance and simply stood there waiting to see what
Peace would do. Peace had been trained very well but she was being humiliated
by her younger sister… and that would not do! She spun her staff quickly and
ran towards the waiting Galatia. She brought her staff around and tried every
move that she knew to strike her sister and all were parried by Galatia. It was
a furious exchange of blows. Each was stronger than the last and with each
missed blow Peace became angrier.
getting winded. She had the expertise to beat this girl but she had no stamina.
If she was going to win she needed to end it quickly. Peace saw the same thing
that Galatia realized and pressed her attack. Her blows came faster and she
began to strike at her head then her feet then her head then her feet then her
side then her feet… she was trying to tire out her opponent and it was working.
backing up slowly while her hands and arms fought off her sister. She kept
trying to find an advantage but without her quick well trained muscle reflexes
she couldn’t capitalize on any advantage that she saw. So she just tried to
hold her own and hoped that Peace would have mercy when Galatia eventually
missed one of her viscous blows.
later Galatia tripped over a clump of grass and because she was already winded
she lost her balance and fell onto her back. Peace let out a victory scream and
brought her staff down towards Galatia’s head. Galatia had no strength or time
to lift her staff to protect herself. She brought up her arm to protect her
face and waited for the blow that would break that protective arm while she
tapped the ground with her other hand to indicate defeat and silently asked for
never came but not because Peace had shown mercy. An Amazon had moved forward
and intercepted Peace’s staff with her own. The crash of the two staffs let out
such a loud report that it silenced the crowd. It was not forbidden to
interfere in a sparring match. But it was unusual. Peace had not heeded the
request for quarter and had intended to deliver a truly crippling blow. That
was why the Amazon had stepped in and stopped the fight. She would have normally
done so for any of the students. Unless the situation warranted the
interference and this situation did.
It had been
an Amazon instructor that had stopped the blow. “Peace Rayne you fought well
and recognized your opponent’s weakness but you failed to control your emotions
in the end. Your blow could have broken your opponent’s arm or worse. That
would have been more than unfortunate for you both.”
pulled her staff back and it was resting by her side with its end planted on
the ground. She was angry and trying not to let it show.
looked at Galatia who had regained her feet and also had her staff at her side.
She was breathing heavily and wiping sweat from her brow. “Galatia Rayne you
fought well also. But you picked an odd opponent for your first real sparring
match. Your reasons are your own but because we all know about your rivalry
with your sisters one can only guess what those reasons were.” She looked the
panting girl up and down. “I have an idea that might help you both learn how to
control your passions. From now on until I say otherwise, while on this
practice field you will spar only with each other, you will train only with
each other, you will learn and you will teach only each other. What one knows
the other will know; when one fails the other will fail. Do I make myself
clear?” Galatia nodded she had hoped for a better outcome. Peace had clearly
hoped for better as she was glowering but she did not argue. “Good go have your
injuries tended to Peace and go catch your breath Galatia. You both still have
the better part of two hours to train together.”
walked over to the water barrel. She was followed by her friends. “Well that
could have gone better.” Zaria said when all but their core group of friends
thought that it went pretty well.” They all looked at her like she was nuts.
“She’s got bruises… I got winded. Now I can train without quite so much
derision from my sisters.” Zaria had to agree there was a certain amount of
logic to her words. “We all have to get into shape. I don’t know if that’s why
we’re here. But I know as well as you do Zaria that we’re early for a reason.”
Again Zaria didn’t argue. “And you girls need to stop playing with dolls and
toughen up… if you’re going to help us defeat Alti.” The last comment had its intended
affect. The girls all began to talk excitedly and suddenly they all wanted to
become great warriors. Galatia would be happy if they didn’t trip on their own
swords and impale themselves.
at her partner. “Who’s rallying the troops now?” She asked with a smile. Their
friends didn’t understand her of course because she had spoken in ancient